Friday, April 13, 2007

Tigers Lose Duel to Blue Jays

In an old fashioned pitcher's duel between Jeremy Bonderman and Roy Halladay, The Tigers lost to the Blue Jays 2-1 in 10 innings tonight. It was a rare game in which both Bonderman and Halladay threw fewer than 100 pitchers through 9 innings and it was tied at one at the end of regulation. Halladay came out to pitch another scoreless inning in the 10th. In the bottom of the inning, Bonderman yielded to Fernando Rodney who gave up the winning run.

Bonderman allowed a home run to Alex Rios on the first pitch of the game and that was it. This game was a little different from the typical fielding indepedent game we usually see from Bonderman. He had only 4 strikeouts, got more air outs than ground outs (13 to 9) and received solid fielding support on some hard hit balls. He was, however, very efficient throwing just 96 pitches, 68 of them for strikes. He walked nobody and allowed just 6 hits. It was a very impressive performance.

It looked like he could have gone another inning especially with the bottom of Blue Jays order coming up in the 10th. However, Jim Leyland decided not to risk a high pitch count so early in the season and brought in Rodney. It was an agonizing bottom of the 10th as the Blue Jays loaded the bases on an infield hit and two bunt singles. The two bunts were very well placed but in both cases it seemed like it would have been better if Rodney would have allowed the infielders to make the plays. The winning run then scored on a sacrifice fly to center field by Rios.

Offensively, the the Tigers had a new line-up tonight with Ivan Rodriguez batting third and everyone else moving down one spot. The reasoning may have been that Pudge came into the game 10 for 21 versus Halladay in his career. I'm not a big fan of small sample matchups but perhaps Jim Leyland felt there was a real reason for Pudge's success against Halladay. It didn't work tonight as Rodriguez went 0 for 4 and the Tigers managed only 6 hits. The only run scored on a Magglio Ordonez homer in the second.

So a classic duel ended badly for the Tigers but it was still a pleasure to watch two of the better pitchers in the league battle pitch for pitch for nine plus innings. Game 3 will be at 1:07 tomorrow when Chad Durbin gets his second start for the Tigers and AJ Burnett goes for the Jays.

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