Archive for April 14th, 2006

Friday: 04.14.2006

Tigers Swept, Host Cleveland This Weekend.

All the hype and build up surrounding the Tigers after a hot opening week has dissipated after a three-game sweep at the hands of the Chicago Thomes. Jim Thome continued to pound the Tigers in a 13-9 victory yesterday with his sixth home run, this time punishing Justin Verlander. The third and final defeat came despite Chris Shelton's seventh home run of the season.

The luster may have worn off for the mainstream media, but I didn't expect Detroit to play at a 5-1 clip all season, so this doesn't erase hopes of a good season in one fell swoop. The negatives are that it was the home opening series, it was against the stiffest competition they've faced yet, who just happen to be both the World Champs and division rivals, and of course the fact that it was a sweep! That said, the games were close and this team is still hitting very well.

Verlander struggled early and often yielding seven runs in just two and two-thirds innings of work. The Tigers were able to get Chicago starter Jon Garland (for seven runs in five innings) drawing as near as 10-8 with their 21 hits, but it wasn't enough. Only leadoff hitter Curtis Granderson failed to notched two or more hits yesterday, going just 1-for-6, leaving a game-high six men on base. The 2-3-4 combination of Placido Polanco, Ivan Rodriguez, and Magglio Ordonez went 7-for-14 with five of the team's nine runs driven in including Ordonez' third home run of the season.

In fact, the trio is hitting .337 (34-for-101) so far this season, which is promising to the team given the lack of production from Ordonez and Rodriguez a season ago. Both appear healthy and able to perform at the level the Tigers had in mind when doling out their large contracts in the past two off-seasons. All three have been integral to the league-best .935 OPS posted by the Tigers.

The Tigers, now 5-4, host Cleveland for four games before starting a West Coast swing in Oakland on Tuesday.

Probable Pitching Matchups:
Kenny Rogers (1-1, 4.76) v. Jake Westbrook (2-0, 1.98)
Jeremy Bonderman (1-1, 3.29) v. Fausto Carmona (0-0, 0.00)
Mike Maroth (1-0, 1.69) v. Cliff Lee (1-0, 3.97)
Nate Robertson (1-1, 4.38) v. Paul Byrd (1-1, 10.24)