Thursday, June 01, 2006

Tigers Avoid Sweep

It had been a rough week for the Tigers. They were receiving national recognition for their best start since 1984 and were ready for their most anticipated series in about 15 years against the Yankees. They proceded to lose the first three games of series 4-0, 11-5 in 11 innings and 6-1 against a strong but undermanned Yankee team. Most of the Tigers were looking horrible at the plate swinging and missing at almost anything the Yankee hurlers threw up there whether it was near the strike zone or not. Their usually stellar defense forgot how to turn a double play. None of their starting pitchers could throw a quality start and closer Todd Jones gave up 5 runs in one inning.

Then, it got worse. They learned that Mike Maroth had bone chips in his right elbow and would require surgery that would likely keep him out for 2-3 months. In today's game, fans hoped that Justin Verlander would have a Fidrychesque instant fame game on national TV against the Yankees just as the Bird had 30 years earlier. The misery continued though as Verlander had a return of his blister problem and was not sharp. The Tigers were down 5-0 in the 3rd and many fans were envisioning a 4 game sweep at the hands of the hated Yankees.

The Tigers did not give up though. They scored 3 in the 4th on a parade of singles and walks to make it 5-3. In the the 5th, a two run single by Ordonez made it 6-5 and Comerica Park was awake again. Still, the way the series had been going, you had the uneasy feeling that the Yankees would bounce right back. The excellent Tiger bullpen wouldn't let that happen though. Jamie Walker, Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney shut down the Yankees for 4 innings. So, it was still 6-5 in the 9th and the Tigers had one last chance to come back against Kyle Farnsworth (trying to close the game for Mariano Rivera who was resting with a back problem). Here is how it went:

Curtis Granderson flied to left
Marcus Thames walked (great at bat)
Ivan Rodriguez singled to left.
Magglio Ordonez singled to right center scoring Thames
Carlos Guillen singled to right scoring Rodriguez.

Tigers Win ! Theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Tigers win !

Emotionally, it was probably the biggest win of the year (at least for us fans). Now, maybe we can leave reality again and get back to out dream season. Bring on the Red Sox.

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