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Open Thread - Game 43: Cardinals (16-24) at Tigers (26-16), 1:05 p.m. EST

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Brad Thompson (2-0, 4.03) vs. Justin Verlander (4-1, 2.76)

First of all, thanks to those who chimed in with comments during last night's game. It was great to see some discussion going in the game thread. Mark's done his part to get some conversation going, and I'll have to start doing my part to join in. And to all those who have been stopping by from Viva El Birdos, we appreciate your patronage. It's been fun to have some give-and-take with the other team's fans.

This afternoon, the Tigers go for a weekend sweep of the Cardinals. After a tough (but relatively successful) road trip, coming home for a World Series rematch has been just what the team needed. Although the bullpen made last night's game much closer than it probably should've been. Obviously, the Cards deserve credit for continuing to play hard, but... Wil Ledezma and Jason Grilli should be buying a Sunday newspaper for the classifieds section today. You two are on notice. Todd Jones gets a pass because, well, he's Todd Jones. And apparently, he was worn out from playing hoops with the Pistons' Antonio McDyess earlier in the day.

Verlander is following up on what might have been his most impressive performance of 2007. (Did it get more attention because it took place against the Red Sox? Possibly, but he was outstanding with all of his pitches on Tuesday.) And maybe - just maybe - Verlander would like to redeem himself against the team that beat him in last fall's World Series clincher. (Just don't throw to third base, Justin.)

For the Cardinals, this will only be Thompson's third start of the season. His first two, however, were pretty good. Thompson doesn't strike out a lot of batters, but he doesn't walk many, either. So the Tigers ought to get their fair share of hits today.

Wouldn't a day off tomorrow be more enjoyable with a sweep?

Short Hops:

▪▪ Rick Hummel (along with Tony La Russa and Jose Oquendo) presents the case for Placido Polanco making the American League All-Star team.

▪▪ Jon Paul Morosi followed two former Tigers teammates who opposed each other as managers for the West Michigan Whitecaps and Great Lakes Loons in the Class A Midwest League earlier this week.

▪▪ Joe Posnanski has posted Hall of Fame predictions for each team in the American League. There's not much to argue about with his thoughts on the Detroit Tigers' candidates.

▪▪ This is barely - barely - Tigers-related, but today's NY Times' has a short piece on former Tiger Dave Mlicki, who started for the Mets in their first interleague match-up with the Yankees.