Bonderman Rocked; Streak Ended.

I can’t help but feel culpable for tonight’s loss to the Cincinnati Reds, 9-4, snapping a seven game winning streak. I spent the evening at a restaurant watching the Detroit Pistons force a game seven on Sunday against the Cleveland Cavaliers all the while text messaging my sister for updates on the Tigers since she could flip between back in Detroit. As I lamented the early deficit the Tigers found themselves in to my sister, she told me I had to choose between the Pistons winning a do-or-die game or allowing the Tigers to extend their streak to eight. I sacrificed the opener in the Interleague series to push the Cavs series to the hilt. Sorry everyone! The Pistons held on 84-82 and come back to Detroit for the series finale. I am a loyal fan of all the Detroit teams in all four major sports, with the Tigers and Lions pulling rank ahead of the Pistons and Red Wings, but tonight was the season for the Pistons so I had pull them through.

Back to the Tigers and sadly, the streak was bound to end. It is very nice to put these stretches together, but they cannot last forever. The Reds are considered Detroit’s geographical rival for Interleague play and thus they are matched up frequently. In four season series since Interleague play began in 1997, the Tigers have split with the Reds at six games apiece while being outscored 57-53. This season’s series is the first that actually holds any significance with each team out to the most surprising start in their respective leagues. Detroit, after today’s loss, are tied for the best record in baseball at 27-14, while Cincinnati is two games back of the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central at 25-17.

Starter Jeremy Bonderman last just three innings allowing seven runs on six hits and three walks while striking out only three. Contrary to his career-trend, Bonderman has found himself in trouble during the middle innings while plowing through the first three with relative ease (as compared against his career numbers) in 2006. Tonight, he had a mix of his past with the present allowing two runs in the 2nd and six in the 4th. This season, pitches 46-60 have been Bonderman’s tightest spot. Prior to tonight, he has allowed hitters a .313/.389/.375 line during those pitches and that was no doubt worsened as he lasted just 66 pitches against the Reds. The jams he was constantly putting himself in during those pitches finally caught up to him tonight. He had only allowed two runs despite that line while allowing 14 runs on pitches 1-45, but the Reds punished him for putting runners on this time around.

Placido Polanco‘s bat is coming alive of late with nine hits in the last six games as he teamed with Ivan Rodriguez and Magglio Ordonez to go 7-for-14, but it was not enough. Leadoff man Curtis Granderson was kept off base in five tries and Carlos Guillen and Brandon Inge were each saddled with 0-for-4 nights leaving on four base runners apiece. Marcus Thames rapped his 6th home run in 53 at-bats giving him one per 8.8 at-bats and one per 9.7 plate appearances. With Dmitri Young‘s hitting woes and now potential off-the-field problems, Thames could a pile of well deserved at-bats in the coming weeks. I’d rather see better circumstances under which Thames would get time, but it is a silver lining to the situation.

Roman Colon failed to offer substantial long relief in Bonderman’s short outing as the team continues to search for that effective mop-up guy. Colon put on six in three and two-thirds allowing two runs and striking out three. It was only his second outing of the season, so he is likely to get a few more shots at being that guy, but tonight he was not able to squelch the fire started by Bonderman. He allowed 2.2 HR/9 last year in 69 1/3 innings between Atlanta and Detroit last year, and picked up where he left off tonight giving up Adam Dunn‘s 14th home run of the season.

Tomorrow, Mike Maroth (5-2, 2.18 ERA, 1.2 K:BB) is scheduled to face Eric Milton (2-1, 6.50 ERA, 2.6 K:BB) with first pitch set for 7:05 PM Eastern at Comerica Park. With a Pistons off-day, I’ll have all my force behind a Tigers victory and on Sunday, I think the Pistons can pull through on their own, but I might have to split the love between the two.



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