Rain or shine, there is going to be a rumba’ in the COPA. Afternoon or night, both teams are going to fight. This series means way too much for either team to let down. When the Tigers and Twins take the field on Tuesday, there is going to be nothing but great baseball action. For us Tigers fans, it will be nauseating. We might at points in this series see an inept offense . Nate Robertson or Eddie Bonine could fall apart. Heaven forbid, Justin Verlander could lose his start tomorrow evening. Nothing is ever a given in this game. With that being said, the key has to be competing fully at the end of the day. To do that, the pitching is going to need to put the team on it’s back. The relievers will have to fill their roles. The starters will have to be dominant. Just like every other big game this series, the goal will be to use home field advantage as well… an advantage to the pitchers on the mound. The defense will need to be sharp, and pitching to contact on most occasions will give the Tigers the biggest advantage in this series.
Even with guys like Denard Span, Joe Mauer and Michael Cuddyer? Against a lineup that nearly every starter is hitting above .270? According to the stats, it is the best possible measure. Especially with Rick Porcello, Eddie Bonine, and Nate Robertson on the mound.
At Comerica Park this season, most of the Twins lineup has struggled. Besides the core of Jason Kubel, Joe Mauer, Michael Cuddyer, and Denard Span, the regulars in this lineup have hit below .200. Orlando Cabrera, who is a key in the two hole of this lineup, has hit just .118 at the house that Ilitch built. Joe Crede, once considered a Tigers Killer, is hitting just .143 against the team in Detroit this year. His replacement, Matt Tolbert has yet to get things going on the road against the Tigers. The Twins will most likely go to Alexi Casilla because of his success against the Tigers this season. But the former starting second baseman hasn’t had an at bat since the 11th of this month. Besides the big names mentioned above, the highest on base percentage at Comerica this year goes to Delmon Young, who despite hitting .188, has a .278 OBP.
Many are talking about Nate Robertson’s final start of the season being the most important in his regular season career. With a high potent offense against him, Robertson could possibly be the difference between a lead going into the final series of the year, or continuing a drop of moral as the end of the 162 game season approaches. Robertson has pitched in big games, and has showed up. Can he be the bulldog that every Tigers fan remembers from 2006? Can he keep at bay the big hitters that continue to haunt the dreams of sleepless Tigers Fan nights? If the stats have anything to say about it, he can. In 2009 Joe Mauer has just one hit and one walk against lefties at Comerica this season. New Tiger Killer Denard Span has only one hit against lefties in 2009. Besides Michael Cuddyer and Delmon Young, this lineup has showed zero power at Comerica against lefties. Something that could be interesting to watch on Thursday.
I can spend all day and night breaking down the stats. I could dig into the Bill James Handbook and find more mismatches. Despite the numbers presented, the games have to be played on the field. Tomorrow afternoon, The Tigers kick off the most important series of the year, and like you, I will be glued to my TV watching. This is what being a fan is all about.
This is why the game of baseball is defined as America’s past time. The One Hundred and fifty five game series is over. Now it’s down to just seven. As far as I am concerned the playoffs are here.
And our Tigers have home field advantage to start the post season.