I can only imagine the Tigers and Red Sox are starving for a break, having to play a day game after enduring a 13-inning grind last night. Make that coffee extra strong in the clubhouse. (I'd also suggest Red Bull, but I don't know if all the ingredients have MLB's stamp of approval.) Just don't let Neifi anywhere near it.
Making the day tougher will be the weather, which is going to be a scorcher. (Billfer has the low-down on the Tigers' policy for bringing water into Comerica Park.) Wet cabbage leaves under the hat for everyone today. But I think it's been meterologically proven that nothing can make you cooler than a sweep by the home team. And with a win, that's exactly what the Tigers will accomplish. Winning five out of six against two of the top teams in the American League would be extra refreshing.
Daisuke Matsuzaka has been amazing over his last four starts, allowing just two runs in 29 innings. He's only given up 15 hits against 34 strikeouts and 10 walks, as well. Throw in his two starts before that (which he actually lost), with just four runs in 13 innings, along with another 17 strikeouts and six walks, and you have an outstanding stretch of pitching excellence. Just in case you forgot, he was also great against the Tigers when he faced them back in May.
Comparatively speaking, Nate Robertson hasn't been nearly as good. But he's improved in his last two starts since returning from the disabled list. Unfortunately, the Tigers' bullpen coughed up late-inning runs in both of those games, and they ended up losing. Robertson hasn't gone far past the fifth inning in a long time, and the Tigers might need a longer effort out of him with all the relievers that were used last night. Or we might see some two-inning stints out of Jose Capellan and Chad Durbin.
Jim Leyland said that Placido Polanco and Magglio Ordonez wouldn't be playing today. I have to think Pudge Rodriguez could be getting a day off, too.