All hell sure did break loose after I got home. The Tigers went from having a one-run lead to being blown out in the space of two batters, all amidst a chorus of complaints about the Metrodome. And just like that, Justin Verlander, who had been brilliant all day (or so I heard) gets tagged for five earned runs again. That’ll just about take him out of the Cy Young discussion, I would think, especially since Sabathia won last night. If that becomes the defining turning point of the season, then I suspect Don Kelly won’t be welcome in Detroit again for some time. Meanwhile, after getting progressively worse against Pavano every time they faced him, the Tigers actually scored two runs off him, which is more than what I thought they’d do. There’s been complaining that they didn’t take advantage of the eleven hits they got off Pavano, but from what I heard on the radio, not a single one of them was hit hard, and the odds of getting five bloop singles in a row are nearly impossible (though the Twins manage to do this with regularity). The fact of the matter is that the boys just look tired and exhausted. It’s like they’re just running on fumes. Meanwhile, the Twins look like they have boundless energy. Perhaps there needs to be an investigation into the Tigers’ in-season conditioning and training regimen?
Well, it comes down to this. After today, the Tigers will never have to venture into that godforsaken place known as the Metrodome. And at this point, you have to rely on that which has been your strong suit: Your pitching and your defense. I sure do hope Nate Robertson is healthy. I still haven’t seen the “good” Nate that came off the DL. He did not do well against the Twins last year, but in 2007 he was 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA in four starts against Minnesota (and one of those was a 1-0 win at the Metrodome). In his career at the Metrodome, he is 5-5 with an ERA of 4.08, so he’s made some good starts there. Meanwhile, Scott Baker is winless in his last two starts, but prior to that, he had won seven games in a row. The Tigers HAVE scored quite a few runs off him this year in the two games they’ve seen him, and there are a few guys in the lineup who have hit him well. Magglio (who has been slumping recently) hits over .400 against him, and both Granderson and Thames have 4 home runs apiece off of Baker. I don’t know, though. I promised I’d be honest about my gut feeling, and right now, it doesn’t feel too good. However, no matter what happens today, the Tigers WILL leave town in first place. A three-game lead sure looks better than a one-game lead, but they will be in first place (and they’ll head to Cleveland hoping the Indians continue to lose a lot). Your Mood Music for today: Through my own quirks and eccentricities, I give you the Parade of the Ewoks.