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Open Thread - Game 35: Tigers (22-12) at Twins (17-18), 3:45 p.m. EST

Chad Durbin (2-1, 5.45) vs.

Sidney Ponson (2-4, 6.42)

How does 10 games over .500 and a one-and-a-half game lead in the AL Central look to you this afternoon? That's where the division stands after last night's 7-3 victory over the Twins and Cleveland's 8-2 loss at Oakland.
AL Central W L PCT GB
Detroit 22 12 .647 --
Cleveland 20 13 .606 1.5
Chicago 11 15 .531 4.0
Minnesota 17 18 .486 5.5
Kansas City 11 25 .306 12.0

And after beating the one guy you figured the Tigers might lose to in this series, suddenly their prospects for the remaining two games are looking pretty rosy. On Thursday, Detroit faced a pitcher who is probably on his way out of Seattle's starting rotation, and though Ponson's job status might not be quite as precarious, you have to wonder just how much longer Minnesota will delay the presumably inevitable and tab one of their younger starters for his position.

Durbin looked good in his previous start against the Royals, but in his two wins this season, he's taken advantage of aggressive and impatient approaches by the opposing lineup. A more patient and deliberate batting order like Minnesota's could give him some problems. But the Tigers have been playing very well on the road lately, winning their last five (and six of their last seven).

Short Hops:

▪▪ Mathematically, the Tigers have played one-fifth of their season, so The Detroit Tigers Weblog looked at the lineup's individual stats thus far and projected them over a full season.

▪▪ According to the Detroit News' Tom Gage, Jeremy Bonderman won't be headed to the disabled list. If his blister heals as hoped, Bondo's next start will be Friday in the World Series rematch against the Cardinals.

▪▪ On his blog, MLB.com's Jason Beck explains why the Tigers chose Virgil Vasquez to take Bonderman's turn in the rotation, rather than Andrew Miller or Eulogio De La Cruz. Furthermore, Vasquez could be sent back down to Toledo on Monday, because if they were to demote Aquilino Lopez, he couldn't be called up again for 10 days, leaving the Tigers short in the bullpen.