How will last night's thrilling comeback by the Tigers carry into today's series opener? Will the Twins be dragging the hangover of yesterday's 18-5 loss at Boston? These are but a couple of questions to ponder going into this afternoon's game. But the question that might be the most mysterious, one that I just haven't been able to find an answer to, is why today's game is being played at 1:05 p.m. EST?
Is today a holiday that I'm not aware of? Is there something big going on in Detroit tonight that figures to tie up all the traffic downtown? Do the Tigers and Twins both have to leave town before coming back to play again tomorrow night? Did someone in the MLB scheduling office accidentally put a "1" instead of a "7" on the start time?
It's not that I have a huge problem with this. I love afternoon baseball played during the week. I just can't stand not knowing why this game is being played when it is.
Onto the game itself. With the exception of one bad, five-run inning in his last start, Kevin Slowey has been pitching a lot of scoreless baseball lately. Like 21 innings' worth. Slowey's last start against the Tigers isn't included in those 21 innings, but he didn't allow any runs in that game, either. Detroit only managed four hits against him in six innings.
Last Friday in Seattle, Kenny Rogers pitched seven terrific innings and was maybe one batter away from making it through eight. Unfortunately, Jose Lopez hit a two-run double and broke the game open for the Mariners. Rogers may have found a long-term benefit for himself, however, by "inventing" a pitch for himself during the game. He began throwing a cutter that runs inside on right-handed hitters. We'll see if Rogers uses that pitch more frequently today.
A series win would send the Tigers into the All-Star break on a high note. A sweep would give them second place in the AL Central. But Detroit are 4-7 versus the Twins this season, so they'll obviously have to start playing better against this incredibly pesky, vexing division rival.
Twinkie Town has your SB Nation opposing view for this four-game weekend series.