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Game 161: Rays (96-65) at Tigers (74-86)

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James Shields (14-8, 3.57) vs. Zach Miner (8-5, 4.26)

It's the final home game of the season for the Detroit Tigers, as both players and fans say their goodbyes and turn out the light on 2008. Can the Tigers actually finish off their homestand with a sweep of the AL East champions? Regardless of the outcome, today is Fan Appreciation Day at Comerica Park, and the Tigers will be shedding their jerseys after the game and passing them on to some very lucky fans.

Another lucky souvenir for a fan today could be Gary Sheffield's 500th home run ball. Sheff will be batting second in the lineup today, as Jim Leyland tries to get him a few extra at-bats to get his 500th home run. (Placido Polanco remains out with his sprained ankle.)

Zach Miner pitches his last start of the season for Detroit, and hopefully reminds the Tigers' coaches that he should be considered strongly for next year's starting rotation. (And Leyland has already gotten a head start on assigning positions for next season.) He's currently nursing a four-game winless streak, but if the Rays put out the sort of lineup they did last night, Miner might have a bit easier time of it today.

Whether or not today is the Tigers' actual last game on the schedule depends on how the White Sox and Twins fare in their respective season finales. A Twins win combined with a White Sox loss would give Minnesota a 1 1/2 game lead and render a 162nd game for Detroit and Chicago unnecessary. But if the White Sox win, they'll be playing the Tigers tomorrow afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field. So I imagine there will be a healthy amount of scoreboard and television watching on the Tigers' side.