Open Thread - Game 116: Athletics (56-60) at Tigers (63-52)

Dan Haren (13-3, 2.46) vs. Justin Verlander (11-4, 3.60), 7:05 p.m. EST

The schedule says the Tigers have to play the A's again tonight, so I guess crawling into a cave, curling up with their knees to their chests, bobbing in place, and singing "Total Eclipse of the Heart" to one another isn't really an option.  (Although the game isn't until 7:00 p.m., so there's time for such an excursion, if deemed necessary.)  

Maybe last night's game was just such an indescribable debacle that the Tigers already put it out of their minds, and this becomes the sort of thing they can joke about at old-timers games 10-15 years from now.  But it also seems like the type of roundhouse to the jaw that could leave a team reeling for a while.  I guess we'll find out pretty quickly whether or not that game left a hangover.  

Captain Obvious Statement of the Week: Detroit really needs a good start from Justin Verlander tonight.  And even if he doesn't have great stuff, he'll likely have to take one for the team and stay out there for five or six innings because four relievers had to work last night.  Verlander is winless in his past four games.  Against Tampa Bay in his last start, he was pretty good, except he left some pitches high - most notably one that B.J. Upton crushed for a three-run homer.  If he does that again... well, I think we've already seen what the A's are capable of doing.

Dan Haren, on the other hand, hasn't lost in his past five starts.  The chances of Detroit scoring as many runs as they did against Joe Blanton are pretty slim, as Haren has given up more than three runs only once all season.  Actually, he rarely allows more than two runs, which is exactly the number Haren held the Tigers to when he faced them three weeks ago in Oakland.  On the road this year, Haren has a 5-2 record with a 2.38 ERA.  

Short Hops:

▪▪  Before tonight's game, the Tigers will honor the contribution of Latino players to the game of baseball with a festival called Fiesta Tigres.  Live music and a pre-game ceremony are among the festivities.  I'm going to assume an appearance by Garrett Morris playing his Chico Escuela character from "Saturday Night Live" will not be part of the evening.

▪▪  Roger Clemens decided to begin serving his five-game suspension (for hitting Toronto's Alex Rios) yesterday.  That could mean that Clemens will miss the Yankees' four-game series with the Tigers next week.  (via Jason Beck)

UPDATE:  Placido Polanco was held out of the lineup tonight because of a sore thumb.  Ryan Raburn is filling in at second base and batting eighth.

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