Yes, the Tigers could really use a win tonight, if for no other reason than to show they can beat the Kansas City Royals. (Maintaining their 4.5-game lead over the Twins is also an obviously important consideration.) But there's a little bit more than a ballgame going on at Comerica Park tonight.
Ernie Harwell is going to be at the ballpark this evening. He'll meet with the team, he'll meet with the media, and perhaps most importantly, he'll say thank you to the fans. And we'll give our thanks and best wishes in return.
Lee posted on the Motown Sports forum that "This will be our Lou Gehrig moment." I can't really argue with that. As KJ posted earlier today, "For one night only, crying is allowed in baseball."
Lenny DiNardo (0-0, 3.60) vs. Eddie Bonine (0-0, 6.11), 7:05 p.m. EST
Somehow, Lenny DiNardo gave up only two runs when he faced the Tigers last week. That might have something to do with his being left-handed, something that's given Detroit's lineup problems recently. The Tigers helped him out by grounding into a handful of double plays. If they manage to avoid those tonight, perhaps they'll be able to put some runs on the board.
Eddie Bonine makes his first of what is likely to be three starts on the rest of the schedule, taking over the spot that Nate Robertson and Armando Galarraga once occupied. The last time he started a game for the Tigers, Bonine allowed three runs and seven hits against the White Sox in the second half of a day-night doubleheader. He faced the Royals almost a week ago in relief, giving up a solo homer to Alberto Callaspo in two innings.
It's the usual lineup versus lefties tonight, with Ryan Raburn leading off and playing left field. Curtis Granderson is batting seventh. Gerald Laird is catching, Marcus Thames is the DH, and Adam Everett starts at shortstop.