Tonight the Tigers arrive at Target Field in Minneapolis faced with the daunting prospect of 10,000 Jim Thomes.
Fortunately, none of them will be in a Twins uniform.
(Unfortunately, Jim Thome is back in a Cleveland Indian uniform).
On Jim Thome Wind Up Walker Giveaway Night, the first 10,000 fans will receive a replica of the player the Twins just traded to Cleveland for Player-To-Be-Named-Later. Thome will rejoin the team on which he began his career, and began killing the Tigers. The Indians are hoping he will be able to continue the Tiger-killing, or if not at least give the fans something to talk about other than the team’s August downslide.
If the Tigers continue winning, they won’t have to worry about Thome or anyone else: Detroit now has a solid lead of 6 1/2 over Cleveland, and 7 over Chicago, with a week of baseball against the struggling Twins and Royals on tap.
And the Tigers have been winning without even scoring–Detroit only scored a total of 11 runs in the 4-game series with Tampa Bay, but managed to win 3-of-4 anyway.
That approach may not work tonight, unless Rick Porcello has a much better showing than he did when he faced the Twins on Aug 16. He gave up 6 runs in 6 innings, and followed that up with a 5-run, 3 2/3 inning appearance against Cleveland. With a season ERA now at 5.17–and 9.15 in August–he has been doing a good impersonation of a 5th starter.
The Tigers will be facing dreaded Rookie Pitcher Guy, this one a lefty named Scott Diamond (0-1, 4.26), making his 2nd major league appearance.
Player of the Pre-Game: Alex Avila
I might as well just leave this name up here for a while. He is now hitting .418 (1.336 OPS) for the month of August, with 6 HR and 16 RBI. His 2010 season totals: 7 HR and 32 RBI.
Today’s Wind-Up Lineup: