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Game 42: Tigers (16-25) at D-Backs (26-15)

Jeremy Bonderman (2-4, 4.80) vs. Dan Haren (4-2, 3.04)

Oh, this looked like it would be such a great series when the 2008 schedule was first released. And maybe it still will be. But the Tigers weren't supposed to be shuffling into Arizona with hunched shoulders, avoiding everyone's gaze. Their record wasn't supposed to be a virtual mirror opposite of the Diamondbacks'. And Bonderman vs. Haren was supposed to be a clash of pitching titans.

By the way, are you already sick of hearing "Well, at least Detroit doesn't have to face Brandon Webb in this series"? I sure am. Is that how far it's already fallen for the Tigers, when we're happy to avoid an ace pitcher? Remember when we wanted to see how elite pitchers might fare against this lineup?

Besides, it's not like the Tigers catch a break in facing Dan Haren. On several other teams, he'd be the staff ace. And that's pretty much how he's been pitching so far this season. Haren has allowed more than three runs in just three of his eight starts. In his last two appearances, he's given up four total runs over 13 innings. Amazingly, Haren didn't win either of those games. He also hasn't pitched that well against the Tigers in six career starts, posting a 1-4 record and 5.12 ERA.

Someone else who hasn't been pitching well, in a much broader sense, is Jeremy Bonderman. He lasted just four innings against the Yankees last Saturday, giving up five runs, six hits, and four walks. Some blame Bondo's ineptness on an ill-fated attempt to grow a mustache. I still think he should see how far he can take the 'stache, but if he stinks tonight, there probably needs to be a clubhouse intervention with a shaving kit.

While watching tonight's game, I'll be lamenting not joining The Daily Fungo summit in Arizona this weekend, an unfortunate casualty of my travel plans to Malaysia. Hopefully, Mike and the rest of Team Fungo share some of their experiences from Chase Field here at BYB. Given how well Detroit has performed in Interleague Play over the past couple of seasons, maybe they'll be witness to a Tigers resurgence.

AZ Snakepit has your SB Nation opposing view for this three-game interleague series.

Short Hops:

  • Joe Sheehan examines whether or not the DH really gives AL teams an advantage at Baseball Prospectus.
  • Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan has some suggestions to spruce up Interleague Play, and some of them are pretty creative.
  • We know at least two Tigers will be in uniform at the All-Star Game. Jim Leyland has been named as one of Terry Francona's coaches.
  • Buster Olney ($$) wonders if the Tigers might have to enter the C.C. Sabathia sweepstakes.