Oliver Perez (6-4, 2.80) vs. Jeremy Bonderman (5-0, 3.27), 3:55 p.m. EST
It's been quite a while since the Tigers faced some really good pitching, so maybe we should cut them a break. Jorge Sosa and his sneaky slider shut down those Detroit bats fast. And Billy Wagner usually doesn't cough up three-run leads.
Still, it was a bit surprising to see what had been an explosive lineup dispatched so quickly. The home crowd actually had to sit around and wait for the Friday night fireworks because the game ended before it was dark. I almost didn't know what to do with the rest of my evening. Baseball game over before 10 p.m.? What do I watch?
Anyway, onto the game at hand...
Last season, I liked the Tigers' chances against the Mets if they had played in the World Series. My thinking was that any team starting Oliver Perez in a Game 7 had serious problems. This season, however, there's no snickering. And if the Mets had to use Perez in another Game 7, I don't think nearly as many eyebrows would be raised. He's pitched well, and hasn't embarrass himself in either of his four losses this season.
However, I'm going to point to the Tigers' performance (.308 team average) against left-handed pitching and feel pretty confident in their chances. Magglio Ordonez and Brandon Inge are batting very close to .400 against southpaws, and Sean Casey isn't far behind. Craig Monroe has impressive numbers, too. And the one guy who struggles - Curtis Granderson - will be sitting today in favor of Omar Infante, who hits .353 against lefties.
So today's starter should get more support than Chad Durbin did last night. Bonderman has been fantastic since returning from the disabled list, allowing only three earned runs over his last three starts. So if anyone can put up a better performance than Durbin's, Bondo just might be the guy.