Game 149: Tigers at Twins

PREGAME: Perennial Cy Young contender against guy making his first start. This is one of those games you hope to steal.

The Tigers have faced Johan Santana 4 times this year. And while it hasn’t been easy in any start, they haven’t been completely stymied either. His last start against the Tigers he allowed 3 runs on 5 hits while fanning 7 in 8 innings. The Tigers are loading up the lineup with righties as Ryan Raburn leads off and Marcus Thames makes the start at first base with Brent Clevlen getting an outfield start.

For the Tigers it will be Yorman Bazardo, acquired from the Seattle Mariners for Jeff Frazier. If Bazardo goes on to have success with the Tigers, it will be another instance of Jeff Weaver giving back to the organization. Bazardo was DFA’d to make room for Weaver when the Mariners signed him this offseason. Bazardo’s K rates aren’t particularly impressive with only 4.54/9 for Toledo this year, and 5.36/9 in his minor league career. But he does keep the ball in the park and doesn’t walk a whole lot.

Game Time 7:10 p.m.
DET @ MIN, Saturday, September 15, 2007 Game Preview –

POSTGAME: The Tigers won! The Yankees lost! The deficit is 2.5 games, which for some reason seems much more palatable than 3.5 did earlier this morning. Of course it could very well be back North of 3 games again tomorrow, but for the time being we’ve got ourselves a race.

The Tigers jumped out early on Johan Santana taking advantage of Carlos Guillen bloop hit and a Pudge Rodriguez baggie blast. It looked like it might be a relatively short night for Santana as the Tigers forced him to throw 45 pitches in the first 2 innings. That was the good news because Santana only needed 25 pitches to get through the next 3 innings as he clearly settled in.

The Twins kept things uncomfortable plating a run on a wild pitch, and turning a double, a fly ball, and a ground out into their second run. Bazardo was solid, but came up one out short of qualifying for the win. Actually, it was one strike away as he went up 0-2 on Jason Kubel and after a foul ball Bazardo widely missed the zone with 4 straight pitches.

The bullpen was mostly solid as Bobby Seay pitched a scoreless inning fanning 2. Joel Zumaya went 1 2/3 getting a double play on his first pitch and having an easy 1-2-3 8th. Todd Jones issued a 2 out walk, but the 9th was otherwise unavailable. The only blemish was Zach Miner’s outing, which would have been fine if not for that PFP stuff. A one out ground ball single by Nick Punto, a steal, and a walk had 2 men on. Miner got the comebacker to the mound, threw high to second pulling Santiago, who threw late to first, meanwhile Punto scored. A double play ball resulted in no outs and a run.

A win is a win and the Tigers are at the very least keeping the pressure on the Yankees and keeping Detroiters interested. A second straight sweep in the Metrodome is a lot to ask for, but when the rookie beats Cy Young, anything seems possible.