Kenny Rogers and the Tigers defeated the Athletics 3-0 in a very cold and windy Comerica Park today. They have now won 6 consecutive post-season games and are just one win away from the World Series. This is actually their first 6 game winning streak since they finished June with 8 wins against National League opponents. It's the first time since May that they have won 6 straight against American League teams. They certianly picked the right time to get hot.
Kenny Rogers was not supposed to be able to handle the pressure of post-season. He continued to prove his critics wrong by allowing just 2 hits over 7 1/3 shutout innings today. It was a classic Rogers performance. He had great control, got ahead of most batters and induced lots of grounders. He has now allowed 0 runs and 7 hits in 15 innings over 2 post-season starts.
The ailing Joel Zumaya was not needed today. Fernando Rodney replaced Rogers and ended the 8th on just 4 pitches when he got Bobby Kielty to hit into an inning ending double play. Todd Jones then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth. I suspect they won't use Zumay tomorrow either. Ideally, he won't have to pitch anymore this series and will be well rested going into the World Series.
Placido Polanco continued to excel getting 2 more hits and knocking in their first run today. He is now 13 for 29 in the post-season and has hit in all 7 games. I was a bit critical of Polanco during the regular season as he did not have a good year offensively and I felt he was overrated by many in the mainstream media and on the internet. Now, however, he is hitting like he did in 2005 and I think we can all agree thatthis is a good thing. Not to mention his excellent defense (which was never a problem this year).
Another hitting hero today was Craig Monroe who batted second and went 2 for 3 including his 3rd post-season home run. I am also pleased to see Granderson walk 3 times. he is doing a little bit of everything in the post-season.
Jim Leyland used another new line-up today. Omar Infante batted 7th and went 1 for 2 as the designated hitter. The shortstop of the day was Ramon Santiago who matched his season total with a walk his first time up. I think Santiago is a better defender than Neifi Perez and I was also happy that he batted 9th rather than 2nd.
The Tigers hope to finish off the Athletics tomorrow as Jeremy Bonderman faces Danny Haren at 4:30 at Comerica Park.