Despite the Tigers having the best record in baseball, last night was the first night that the team was showcased on an ESPN network. And it did not turn out pretty for the good guys.
With the Yankees lineup not looking like it's normal self - no Jeter, Sheffield, Matsui or Damon - the Tigers still found a way to lose their 3rd game in a row to the Yanks and 4th in a row overall. It wasn't the pitching that doomed the Tigers, but the hitting found a way time after time to hack and hack at pitches and have very little productive at bats.
Maybe it was because they were facing Mike Mussina, who is having a very good year for the Yanks (he is now 7-1 with a 2.42 ERA). Mussina has been known to dominate the Tigers throughout his career and last night seemed like no exception. But it just seemed like he was making our hitters look foolish. One inning consisted of 6 pitches. 3 outs on 6 pitches. It looked very similar to the previous game in which the Tigers had an inning that consisted of, well, 6 pitches. Mussina's pitch count remained low all game, and was able to pick up the CG on only 100 pitches.
And when this lineup got guys on base, opportunities were squandered. With 2 on and no outs Placido Polanco botched a sac bunt which led to Brandon Inge getting thrown out at 3rd base. Following Polanco was Pudge who proceeded to hit into a double play. Things were looking bright that inning, only down 3-0, only to turn into what seemed to be the back-breaker of the evening.
So what is wrong with this lineup? Maybe they're just in a slump. Every team goes through slumps. A 4 game losing streak is not the end of the world, it's just that with the past history of losing seasons and failure, we do not want to see this team begin to lose after the countless winning streaks that have occurred this season. Tonight could be the most winnable game as Justin Verlander takes the hill against Chien-Ming Wang. Hopefully the Tigers can salvage at least one game and build some sort of momentum into the next series.