Eddie Bonine (2-0, 3.98) vs. Nick Blackburn (6-4, 4.05)
Detroit's six-game winning streak came to an end last night, but the Tigers can still win their seventh series in a row if they can take this afternoon's rubber game at the Metrodome. (I really hope I didn't cast a jinx with that one.)
Today's game also presents an intriguing scenario for Eddie Bonine. He hasn't lost in three starts, while pitching well in his last two appearances. But each of those outings was against a team from the National League West. How will his approach (throw lots of strikes, don't walk anyone) fly against American League competition, not to mention a fierce division rival? Bonine's defense will have to be sharp behind him, as he doesn't strike many batters out and puts the ball in play.
Nick Blackburn was hammered by the Brewers in his last start, as he gave up six runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings. Each of those runs, by the way, resulted from the four home runs Blackburn served up. Otherwise, his game is pretty similar to Bonine's. Keep the ball down, throw strikes, don't walk anyone, and get some ground balls. Blackburn faced the Tigers earlier this season, and took the loss after allowing four runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings.
Jim Leyland said after last night's game that neither Pudge Rodriguez nor Miguel Cabrera would be in today's lineup. Pudge is getting his normal day off, while Leyland insisted Cabrera was still too sore to play. I imagine the Metrodome's artificial turf had some influence on that decision. But maybe Cabrera will be available for pinch-hitting, as he was last night.