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Same story, different season: Tigers pitch well enough to win, yet lose 2-1

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Final - 3.27.2010 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York Yankees 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 9 0
Detroit Tigers 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 0
WP: A.J. Burnett (1 - 1)
SV: Joba Chamberlain (1)
LP: Nate Robertson (2 - 1)

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The recap of many a game in 2009: The Tigers pitched well enough to win, but didn't.

Today's recap: The Tigers pitched well enough to win, but didn't.

Same story, different season.

The only offense generated by the Tigers took place in the 3rd inning. Johnny Damon doubled, followed by a 2-out Magglio Ordonez single, accounting for their lone run of the day. The Tigers had all of 6 hits total against Yankees pitching.

Nate Robertson continued to make a strong case for one of the open rotation spots, allowing 2 runs, 5 hits and a walk in his 5 innings while recording 5 strikeouts. Ironically, the run scoring hits were off the bats of former teammates. Curtis Granderson had an RBI double in the 1st, and Marcus Thames a solo home run in the 4th, enough offense to generate a Yankees W.

Today may have been Robertson's final roster audition, and he did pitch well. But was it enough to nail down a spot in the rotation, as a swing man in the bullpen, or make himself more desirable as trade bait? We'll know the answer in less than a week.

But despite the loss, something transpired that was both unexpected and impressive. Joel Zumaya has spent this spring seeing his fastball get pounded to the tune of a 7+ ERA.. With his roster spot no longer guaranteed, Zumaya entered today's game in the 6th inning. He proceeded to strike out the side, 3 up, 3 down.

Zoom put on a 2006-like display with his 100+ MPH fastball and a nasty breaking ball. It was by far the best the injury-prone right-hander has looked in recent memory.

Per Steve Kornacki at Mlive, Jim Leyland was plenty impressed by Zumaya:

"He pitched like he’s trying to make the team. If you have guys like that and if they don’t make the team, you’ve got a hell of a team."

He took a puff on a Marlboro and smiled.

Let's hope Leyland was smiling about the Tigers pitching, and not over getting his nicotine fix. My money is on the Marlboros...

Comment of the night:

The Tigers' Gerald Laird played against a member of his family, as his brother Brandon manned 3rd base for the Yankees. After Gerald popped out to Brandon, it was noted by Detroitchik, "Laird got Laird out."

rea replied with this gem:

"He does that all the time, as we remember from last year"