While the DetroitTigers were holding on to beat the Pirates 7-6 tonight, I was at the Oneonta Tigers game in Lowell, Massachusetts searching for the next Curtis Granderson. I was there with my 10 year old nephew Mattie who is becoming quite a baseball fan himself. I don't think we saw the next Granderson but we got a chance to see some of the recent Tiger draftees such as Ronnie Bourquin, Brennan Boesch and Scott Sizemore. Sizemore got a home run but Oneonta lost to Lowell (who featured rehabbing Wily Mo Pena) 4-2. One positive development was that Mattie was rooting for Oneonta over the home town Spinners. He has potential.
Looking at the box score of the big league game, I see that Kenny Rogers had his second straight shakey outing allowing 8 hits and 5 runs in 4 1/3 innings. It was only the second time in 17 starts this year that he failed to go 5 innings. He was in danger of blowing a 7-1 lead and left with the Tigers up 7-5. Roman Colon, Joel Zumaya and Todd Jones pitched 4 2/3 innings of solid relief to preserve the victory. Offensively, Marcus Thames and Chris Shelton homered and Carlos Guillen added a two run triple to power the Tigers to their early lead. The Tigers have now won 17 out of 19.
Speaking of Marcus Thames, he is having of a remarkable year. His home run tonight was his 16th of the year and he leads the league in fewest plate appearances per home run at 12.8. Even more impressive is his league leading (among players with 200 or more PA) .646 slugging average. Thames' power is not even the biggest surprise. Even his biggest supporters suspected he might be an all or nothing slugger but he is also batting .304 with a .374 OBP. After ripping up AAA for two years, Thames finally got a chance to play this year with the injuries to Dmitri Young and he is making the most of his opportunity.