A year or two from now, when Andrew Miller is interviewed by Sports Illustrated for "The Questions," and is asked what his welcome-to-the-majors moment was, I wonder if his answer might be "Pitching against Johan Santana at the Metrodome"?
Santana seems to have warmed up and looks ready for his usual second-half domination of the American League. Actually, he's already started, having won his last five starts, and giving up just four earned runs (equaling a 1.07 ERA) in those games. The Tigers play Santana pretty tough, but in his last start against them, he gave up only one run in five innings in what was supposed to be a Pitching Clash of the Titans with Justin Verlander. Unfortunately, that didn't quite happen, as Verlander gave up six runs and the Tigers eventually lost 11-1.
Strangely, Santana is only 4-4 at the Metrodome this season. But the Tigers need Miller to pitch better than he did the last time he faced the Twins, when he served up six runs (five earned) on six hits in five innings, en route to an 8-5 loss.
And here's one more stat to chew on before game time: The Tigers have held the Twins scoreless in the last 21 innings they've played.
▪▪ Tim Byrdak begins a rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo tonight. He'll pitch one inning tonight, then two on Saturday, and then get checked out on Monday.
▪▪ One more Mud Hens note: They'll be facing Curt Schilling with the Pawtucket Red Sox next Thursday. And that game is in Toledo, if you're interested in taking a trip. If you need more incentive, that's "Meet Rubber Boy" night at Fifth Third Field, too.