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Open Thread - Game 80: Twins (42-37) at Tigers (46-33)

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Scott Baker (2-2, 5.77) vs. Jeremy Bonderman (8-1, 3.90), 3:55 p.m. EST

It's been quite a day for the Detroit Tigers, wouldn't you say? First, the team makes a deal with Milwaukee for reliever José Capellán, which hopefully provides the bullpen with a fresh blood transfusion. Then the Tigers had five players named to the American League All-Star team, with a possibility for a sixth, if Jeremy Bonderman wins the final online vote. (Vote often! Vote Bondo!)

And the Tigers haven't even played today's game yet.

For the second series in a row, Detroit finds itself trying to avoid a sweep. Let's hope that's the last time we have to say that for the rest of this homestand. After playing so well on the road (albeit against National League teams), you have to wonder if the players relaxed a little bit when they came home, figuring they might play even better in 13 straight games at Comerica Park.

That's not to discount how well Minnesota has played, of course. If there was one thing the Tigers could count on recently, it's been the starting pitching. But the Twins chased both Justin Verlander and Andrew Miller after five innings, meaning they could sink their claws (I don't know if Twins really have claws; it's a metaphor) into that dismal Detroit bullpen. Minnesota is now only four games behind the Tigers, and five away from the AL Central lead.

Scott Baker comes into tonight having pitched his best game of the season last Tuesday. Against Toronto, he allowed only one run on four hits over seven innings, with nine strikeouts and one walk. (And this won't interest anyone else but me, but one of my best friends is named Scott Baker, and it cracks me up every time I see his name listed among the day's probable starters. Bake probably should've given baseball a try, since he's a southpaw. Good speed, too.)

As mentioned above, Bonderman is one of the candidates for the final spot on the AL All-Star team, and I can think of no better way to start his campaign than a stellar start on national television against a fierce division rival. (Vote often! Vote Bondo!) He's a good pick to rebound, too, after the Rangers ended his eight-game winning streak. The Tigers could definitely use a good effort out of him tonight.