PREGAME: Jim Leyland has complained that the Tigers never get the extra day off at the All Star break. This year they got it. I hope it was good for the players because for the fans it stunk. Too long without baseball for my tastes. The “second half” finally begins tonight as the Tigers get their first taste of the homer-happy new Yankee Stadium.
Luke French gets the honor of kicking off this portion of the season. It’s an interesting choice with a full rotation at his disposal, but my guess is that Leyland wanted French out there on a night when the pen was rested, and the fact the Yankees haven’t seen him may have been a consideration as well.
French will be taking on AJ Burnett. The Tigers have had some success against Burnett, or at least they haven’t been completely shut down by him in the past. Burnett’s one weakness this year has been a tendency to walk too many and he’s walking about a batter every other inning. Burnett has a reverse platoon split this year with a 787 OPS allowed against righties and only 690 against lefties.
Random Factoid of the night: Hitters have a 932 OPS against Burnett when putting the first ball in play.
POSTGAME: And Zumaya blows another one. One horrid inning destroys what otherwise was a mostly impressive game from the rest of the squad.
Luke French wasn’t great, but he hung in against a tough lineup and tossed 5 solid innings, and he even did it with some shaky defense behind him. Clete Thomas was charged with a tough error on a nice one hop throw to Gerald Laird that Laird couldn’t handle, so Thomas is off the hook. But Josh Anderson’s 5 hole error, the second one he’s had against the Yankees this year) resulted in an unearned run.
The top of the order was quite productive with the top 4 all getting 2 hits and Clete Thomas getting 2 walks. However a rough game for Inge (0 for 4 with 2 K’s) meant that not enough of them came around to score. In Inge’s defense though, he did hit a liner to Robinson Cano at 2nd with 2 on in the first. An out, but not because it was a bad at-bat.
Granderson looked like the Grandy of old reaching base 3 times with 2 extra base hits.