The much anticipated Yankee series got off to a bad start today as 40,000 Comerica Park fans watched the Tigers get shutout 4-0 on a very hot Memorial day. The Tigers who were blanked by Jason Johnson and the Indians yesterday had even less success against Randy Johnson and the Yankees today. They managed only two hits - a two out single by Ivan Rodriguez in the 6th and a lead off double by Carlos Guillen in the 7th.
Jeremy Bonderman actually pitched pretty well against a very tough and very patient Yankee offense. He gave up two runs in the 3rd thanks to a couple of seeing eye singles and some questionable fielding plays by his infielders. They had two chances for double plays in the inning but each opportunity turned into force outs. They weren't necessarily routine plays but they are the types of plays they've been making all year. As I showed in Friday's FIP analysis, defense has been a big part of the Tigers' success this year. Bonderman also gave up two more runs in the 5th after being one strike away from getting out of the inning. For the game, Bonderman pitched 7 1/3 innings allowing 4 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks and striking out 5.
The lack of offense was the big story today. They were hacking away all day and chased a lot of bad pitches. They are a team of hackers and that makes them prone to hitting slumps, something which has been somewhat hidden this year because of their great pitching. It is still the team's biggest weakness as they are 11th in the league in walks and BB/K ratio.
Another thing I noticed today was that they seemed to be pressing a little both offensively and defensively as if they were trying to prove to the Yankees they are for real. It's hard to know those things but that was my impression. Hopefully, this is just a mini-slump because, as everyone knows, they have a really tough schedule the next couple of weeks. Nobody expects them to keep up their torrid pace of the first 50 games but I'd like to see them play .500 against New York, Boston, Chicago and Toronto. Tomorrow, it will be Roman Colon (who replaces the injured Mike Maroth) versus Aaron Small.