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Open Thread - Game 117: Athletics (56-61) at Tigers (64-52)

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Dallas Braden (1-6, 5.12) vs. Nate Robertson (6-9, 4.94), 1:05 p.m. EST

After sleeping on it, I feel like I may have oversold just how important last night's win was for the Tigers. But if you give a cracker to a starving man, he's going to think that cracker is the best cracker he's ever eaten. I still think, however, that the way last night's game played out was a sign that things are starting to come back together for this team. And I say that knowing that if the Tigers melt down again today, I'll look like an idiot.

Nate Robertson is winless in his past four starts, but pitched well enough to win those last two games. In Oakland, the lineup could only give him two runs. And against Tampa Bay, the bullpen (or more specifically, Jason Grilli) gave his lead away (after he racked up a season-best nine strikeouts). It seems like we've said this so often about Robertson, even though he's been really bad at times this year, but the poor guy's due for a win.

For the A's, Dallas Braden is in a similar position, in that he pitched well enough in his past two games to get the win, giving up just two earned runs each time. In both instances, one of which was against the Tigers in Oakland, Braden didn't get the decision. With Gary Sheffield and Marcus Thames back in the lineup and looking healthy, however, the Tigers might be able to do to Braden what they've done to many left-handed pitchers this season.

As expected, Detroit sent Eulogio De La Cruz back down to Toledo so Yorman Bazardo could be called up. I don't really get this move, unless the Tigers feel they need another long reliever. Bazardo's been working as a starter with the Mud Hens, not from the bullpen. My concern is that Fernando Rodney won't be available today, after pitching in the last two games, and might have a need for De La Cruz in that late-inning set-up role. But maybe the Tigers feel Bazardo or Zach Miner are better suited for such a situation right now.

(And if you're wondering why Jose Capellan wasn't tabbed for a call-up, it's probably because he hasn't pitched very well for the Mud Hens, until throwing a scoreless inning last night.)