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Game 8: Tigers (0-7) at Red Sox (4-4)

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Jeremy Bonderman (0-1, 5.68) vs. Jon Lester (1-1, 3.38)

This is probably going to surprise you, but I wasn't much of an athlete in high school. (I know, I know. But really - I was more the scholarly, schlubby type. Not a lot has changed, actually.) However, I did play on a local recreation league basketball team. And man, we were terrible. Forfeits and mercy rules were relatively common outcomes. It got to a point where we would begin a game, and my buddy and I would sit on the bench (no, I didn't start very often) and wonder how far we would fall behind. And how big should the margin be before we call for a time-out? 10-0? 15-0? 20-0?

I wonder if that's sort of how the Detroit Tigers are feeling right now, with their 0-7 record and two more games against the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox. At what point does that dread creep in, that "ooooh, no" feeling? Has that feeling settled in with their current record? Or do they feel that way during a game when they fall behind by a run or two, and they still haven't gotten a hit? Maybe they don't feel that way at all, and that's the difference between being a good team and a collection of athletic wanna-bes.

Last year, I'd feel extremely confident about the Tigers facing a left-handed pitcher. This lineup devoured lefties like Joey Chestnut scarfs down hot dogs. But Mark Buehrle made the Detroit batters look bad on Sunday night, and Jon Lester's pitched very well in his last start. He wasn't very good in his season debut, however, so maybe he has one of those good start/bad start patterns developing. Or, you know, the Tigers could decide to start hitting like the Superfriends lineup that everyone made them out to be coming into this season.

Jeremy Bonderman made everyone giddy last week by pitching a 1-2-3 first inning. (Kind of like how we all feel when Todd Jones throws a 1-2-3 ninth.) He actually cruised through his first three innings until he ran into the Tiger-killing buzzsaw that is Alex Gordon's bat. After that, it got a bit dicey. Of course, if Bondo's teammates had scored any runs for him, whatever he gave up wouldn't have been an issue.

Short Hops:

  • ESPN.com's Rob Neyer points out the relative absurdity of Placido Polanco's errorless streak being broken up by Manny Ramirez's hustle.
  • Bartolo Colon's call-up to the Red Sox is on hold while he nurses a "tender" oblique. Aren't tender obliques kind of what put Colon in his current career situation to begin with?
  • Big League Stew is wondering why there's such a slow trigger finger at FireJimLeyland.com.