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That's a wrap! Tigers end season with win, finish 81-81

Final - 10.3.2010 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R
Detroit Tigers 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 1 4
Baltimore Orioles 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2

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What began last February with pitchers and catchers ended this October day with a spectacular catch. The 2010 season is officially in the books. The stats are final. The luggage will be packed, players will say their goodbyes and the edition of the team we watched for the past seven or so months will be no more.

Jeremy Bonderman's career in Detroit appears to be done. After two years, we won't have Gerald Laird to kick around any more. Johnny Damon, who brought swagger and glamour and who pledged to fight it out in Detroit after being claimed by the Red Sox, will say he goodbyes and continue a career elsewhere. Many of the bit players we saw along the way will be resigned to tough side of the Tigers trivia dish.

As they have all season, the Tigers ended the year on a teeter-totter, leaving you not really sure what you just saw or what you think about the entire episode. They won in bunches; they lost in bunches. They needed a win to finish .500, but a win would mean no protection for a draft pick next year. It didn't matter to the players on the field, who just wanted to finish the season without having a seven-game losing streak hanging over their heads for the next several months.

So after being no-hit for four innings, Jhonny Peralta singled and Brandon Inge homered in the fifth. As fans, we have to hope this is a sign of things to come, because comments from management during the game indicated both would likely be back in 2011 manning the same positions.With Inge, that's probably a good thing. His diving stop to end the game was definitely a vint-Inge play.

Meanwhile Phil Coke wasn't quite ready for prime time in his major league debut as a starting pitcher. He was not expected to last long, of course. But he gave up five hits and a walk in just 1 2/3 innings. Jim Leyland is 99.9 percent sure this is next year's newest rotation member. With a winter to ruminate, Coke should look a lot better at the job next spring.

In the sixth, Damon singled up the middle to drive in Will Rhymes, giving the Tigers the lead.. Rhymes has a future at second base next year. Damon was replaced with a pinch runner and ended his season with the congratulations of his teammates. Interestingly enough, that pinch runner was Scott Sizemore, who'll be competing for second base himself.

In the end, Jose Valverde closed out the game for his 26th save. The rest has done him good. Still, one can't but think he fell 48 short of his targeted 74 saves for the season.

Maybe next year!

And next year is where we now turn our eyes. The site will be busy all offseason, so be sure to check back daily. At least on weekdays. Just because the season ends, the discussion about the team doesn't.

Maybe this season ended earlier than we liked, but don't worry. Pitchers and catchers reporting time is right around the corner!