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Open Thread - Game 36: Tigers (23-12) at Twins (17-19), 8:05 p.m. EST

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Virgil Vasquez (0-0, -.--) vs. Boof Bonser (0-1, 3.69)

The Virgil Vasquez era begins tonight before a national television audience on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. (By the way, the Tigers will make another Sunday night appearance two weeks from now against the Cleveland Indians.) For more on Vasquez's career up until this point, check out Brian's profile of him at TigerBlog.

Vasquez may be here for a little while, too, as Aquilino Lopez was sent down to AAA Toledo to clear a roster spot (and can't be called back up for 10 days). Until the Tigers know for certain that Jeremy Bonderman can make his next scheduled start on Friday, however, Vasquez will probably stay with the team as insurance. But it's more likely that he'll just get a big league quickie, as Justin Verlander did two years ago.

What can we expect? Vasquez won't be as hyper as Verlander was in his debut, according to MLive.com's Danny Knobler. Mike Rabelo says he likes to work fast and throw strikes. And I'm a fan of anyone who favors nine hours of sleep. In his last start (in which he was opposed by Twins prospect Matt Garza), Vasquez struck out nine batters in 5 2/3 innings.

Meanwhile, Minnesota is strugg-a-ling. They've now lost four in a row, and eight of their last 10. The stats seem to indicate that Bonser has pitched pretty well, but hasn't factored into many decisions, either due to poor run support or his teammates bailing him out later in the game. (And I hope you enjoyed what you saw from Sidney Ponson yesterday, because according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Twins released him today.)

The Tao of Leyland:

What advice did the Tigers manager give to Vasquez to prepare for tonight's start?

"I'll just tell him, `Make sure you tell your parents you're going to be on national TV. Tell 'em to turn it on early, just in case things don't work out.'"
Okay, Leyland also said he'd tell him to stick to his usual ritual, but that's not as funny.