Are we really looking at the last home game of the season for the Detroit Tigers? Wow. Where did this season (and the summer) go? Unfulfilled expectations aside, this team has given the fans at Comerica Park some great moments to cherish and another year of quality baseball, which is something we should probably never again take for granted in Detroit.
It's also Jair Jurrjens' final game of the season, and though he finally got roughed up after four outstanding starts, he's given the Tigers another reason to be excited about the future and has surely placed himself in heavy consideration for a spot in next year's starting rotation. Of the four starts in which Jurrjens allowed only a single run, one came against these same Minnesota Twins. In that game, he also allowed only two hits and racked up six strikeouts.
For the Twins, Johan Santana has had an uncharacteristically mediocre season. A big part of that barely-over-.500 record has to do with the poor run support that he gets from his lineup, of course. But Santana has also pitched a few games in which he gave up quite a few runs. For example, his past two starts. Does 10 runs and 14 hits in his last 15 innings sound like the Johan Santana we've come to fear and admire? The Tigers have been able to capitalize upon Santana's struggles too. Against Detroit this season, his record is 1-3 in five starts with a 3.44 ERA.
With the left-handed Santana on the mound, it's an all-righty lineup for the Tigers. Ryan Raburn starts for Curtis Granderson in center, Mike Hessman gets the start at first, and Marcus Thames will play in left.
▪▪ According to both Jason Beck and Danny Knobler, the Tigers and Jim Leyland will begin negotiations on a contract extension on Monday. This would keep Leyland in the manager's seat until 2009.
▪▪ Umpire Mike Winters (whose crew was working these final three games at Comerica Park) has been suspended by MLB for the rest of the season.