Kenny Rogers ran into trouble in the 6th when he loaded the bases with nobody out. At that point, Joel Zumaya was brought into the game to face hot hitting Mark DeRosa. He proceeded to walk DeRosa forcing in a run. It looked like a potential disaster developing especially since Zumaya struggled a bit in his last appearance against the Red Sox. Zoom, however, found himself very quickly. He got Ian Kinsler on a weak pop to third. Then, he struck out Hank Blalock and Gerald Laird to end the inning. It was classic Zumaya drama and it was great to watch.
It was 4-2 after 6 and that would be the final score as the Tiger bullpen was brilliant tonight. Zumaya retired the side in 7th adding one more strikeout along the way. Fernando Rodney followed by setting down the Rangers in order in the 8th. Todd Jones did not get another 1-2-3 inning tonight but got a double play to end it. The Tiger victory kept them 6 1/2 games ahead of the White Sox who also won today and put them 8 1/2 up on the Twins who lost to the Indians.
Three Tigers who received criticism from a lot of people (including me) earlier in the year have been doing quite well in the second half:
- Todd Jones, who has saved 34 games in 37 opportunities on the season, has not blown a save or lost a game since June 14. During that period, he has pitched 22 2/3 innings over 23 games allowing just 4 runs on 14 hits with a 16/3 K/BB ratio.
- Craig Monroe is batting .354/.395/.619 in 38 games since July 1. For the season , he is batting .282/.319/.501. His .820 OPS is good for 3rd on the team behind Marcus Thames (.900) and Carlos Guillen (.893).
- Dmitri Young is batting .369/.391/.646 in 19 games since returning from the disabled list. His overall numbers (.274/.316/.444) are still not impressive but they are getting better.