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Open Thread - Game 81: Indians (50-32) at Tigers (47-33)

Paul Byrd (7-3, 4.67) vs. Nate Robertson (4-6, 4.82), 7:05 p.m. EST

After tonight, the Tigers will have officially reached the halfway point of the season. Doesn't it seem like it's all moving too fast? We're already talking about the All-Star Game? But didn't we just start this thing? And then you look at the schedule, and see that 81 games have been played. "Time flies when you're having fun" is a cliche, but the thing about cliches is that they usually reflect a truth.

If ESPN covered baseball the way they cover college and pro football, they might slap a cheesy label on the Tigers' next six games, something like "Separation Six." But this is an important stretch for Detroit. Winning this series with Cleveland would put them back in a tie the AL Central lead. A sweep would put them back on top. But the Tigers just need to show that they can play with the Indians. The Tribe leads the season series so far, 5-2, but I'm presuming that no Detroit fans think the Indians are a better team. (The Red Sox might be a different story, but we can talk about that on Friday.)

The Tigers get another crack at Paul Byrd, who's almost the Cleveland version of Mike Maroth, in that he gives up a bunch of hits and doesn't strike out many batters, yet he wins games. Byrd doesn't walk anyone, however, which is a key part of his success. Meanwhile, Nate Robertson pitched very well in his first start back. He lasted only five innings, but gave up just one run on four hits to the Rangers. It looked like his pitches had some movement again, and hopefully, that continues tonight.

Your SB Nation opposing view for this series is provided by Let's Go Tribe.

Short Hops:

▪▪ Don't you know he's a 2,000 man... ? Tonight will be Pudge Rodriguez's 2,000th game as a catcher.