Paul Byrd (3-10, 5.53) vs. Eddie Bonine (2-1, 4.30)
After erupting for nine runs and 13 hits last night, will the Tigers' offense keep the run parade marching tonight? Judging from Paul Byrd's recent pitching statistics, the answer would seem to be a roaring yes. Byrd has given up at least four runs and six hits in his last five starts, and has also served up seven home runs during that span. To see the difference in the Cleveland Indians this season, as opposed to last year, you just have to look at Byrd's record. At this time last season, he had a 7-4 record and 4.41 ERA.
One of Byrd's best starts this season, however, was against Detroit. Just over a month ago, he allowed just two runs and four hits over seven innings, earning the win.
Eddie Bonine is arguably a younger version of Byrd, in that he throws a bunch of strikes, doesn't walk many batters, and needs to keep the ball down to have success. He didn't do that last time out against Minnesota, and had his worst start since joining the Tigers. But the Metrodome's artificial turf and a couple of defensive blunders may have had a little something to do with that, as he was only charged with two earned runs on the night.
Placido Polanco is out of the lineup tonight, but it has nothing to do with him becoming a U.S. citizen. I'd love to be at the ballpark tonight to see Polanco among 100 new American citizens being sworn in. My mother became a U.S. citizen two years ago (after waiting for a few years to be processed, like Polanco) and witnessing that oath ceremony was a special moment. That's a great moment for the people and the families involved. Maybe FSN will show some of that on TV this evening.
Ramon Santiago returns to the Tigers' lineup tonight, in place of Polanco at second base.