Game 82: Tigers at Twins
PREGAME: The Tigers and Twins with their records sufficiently padded against the NL, will do battle tonight in the Metrodome. The Tigers will be without Magglio Ordonez. But the Twins placed their right fielder on the DL yesterday as well. Of course Michael Cuddyer is hitting 252/324/376 this year so it isn’t really a fair trade off.
The Twins of course are one of the hottest teams in baseball and had a 10 game win streak snapped on Saturday. Somehow the Twins are scoring at the same rate as the Tigers. I say somehow because while the Twins have an above average batting average they have a below average OBP and as a team they are only slugging .399. In other words they are giving up 50 points of OPS to the Tigers. Their secret is a .313 batting average with runners in scoring position. That leads the AL by a ton with the White Sox second at .284.
As for the Twins pitching staff, they aren’t helped by their below average defense. Opponents are slugging .440 against the Twins which is highest in the league and they have a pretty pedestrian 5.7 K/9. But they are a half walk better per game in not allowing free passes than the next best team.
The pitching match-up tonight is lefty Glen Perkins and righty Armando Galarraga. Galarraga will be facing the Twins for the 3rd time after losing the first two match-ups. He’s also coming off his roughest start of the season. Glenn Perkins has allowed 3 runs in each of his last 4 starts, but the length of said starts ranged from 5 to 8 innings.
Game Time 8:10
POSTGAME: I think this is the definition of “gutting one out.” This game was a lot of ugly for the first 6 innings of this game from a Tigers standpoint. Armando Galarraga was pitching pretty well, but was getting little defensive support. There were 3 errors and a misplayed ball by Ryan Raburn. The Tigers also failed to cash in on an early 2nd and 3rd – 1 out situation. And they lost their clean-up hitter to injury. Yet some late inning magic leaves the orange and blue striped protagonists feeling good.
A one out single by Curtis Granderson (2 more hits off of a south paw tonight for Grandy) in the 7th mercifully chased Glen Perkins and the Tigers got busy on the parade of arms brought out of the Twins bullpen.
Matt Joyce came off the bench and tripled in the tying run in the 7th inning continuing the string of big freakin’ clutch hits from players on loan from the Mud Hens. And it was Granderson picking up his 3rd hit (which pushed his average over .300) to give the team the lead.
It was a very nice performance from the Tigers bullpen with Casey Fossum retiring 4 batters and Joel Zumaya pitching under some duress after a couple cheap hits in the 9th to get the 1.2 inning save.