White Sox Factor Loom Large in Twins\Tigers Play-in Game

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By Soxman

Tip your cap to those scrappy Twins.  They became your 2009 AL Central Division Champions in one of the best baseball games I’ve ever watched.  12 innings of exciting action, where neither team would go quietly into that good night. As I watched the game closely, I could not help but marvel at how much of an impact the Chicago White Sox had on this game. Confused?  Well then, read this break:

1.    The Chicago White Sox won four of the last six games against the Tigers to essentially force them into the tie-breaking game.

2.    Miguel Cabrera, who was almost traded to the White Sox in 2008 for Josh Fields, Aaron Poreda and others, homered in the game.  He also played on the Marlins when Ozzie Guillen was the third base coach.

3.    Former White Sox right fielder Magglio Ordonez, singled in Curtis Granderson, a Chicago native, whose favorite team growing up was the Sox.  Ordonez also hit a crucial HR in the 8th to tie the game.

4.    Orlando Cabrera, a member of the 2008 AL Central Champion White Sox, give the Twins the lead in the 7th.

5.    Matt Guerrier, a 10th round draft pick by the White Sox in 1999, nearly blew the lead by walking two and giving up a run in two thirds of an inning.

6.    Jon Rauch, a 3rd round pick by the White Sox in 1999 pitched two thirds of a scoreless inning in the 7th.

This Twins team also has to draw some comparison to the 2005 Chicago White Sox as they are a team built primarily on speed and defense, and relying on smart baseball to win.  They also lost one of their best power hitters for the season in Justin Morneau, who interestingly enough was passed over by the White Sox in 1999, in favor of Jon Rauch.  In 2005, we lost Frank Thomas to a broken foot and were forced to use Carl Everett in the DH spot.

In 2005, we had to rely on a “rookie” push down the stretch to fill critical holes.  Bobby Jenks stepped in at closer for the injured Dustin Hermanson, just as Brian Duensing filled in as a starter in place of probable staff ace, Kevin Slowey, who broke his wrist earlier in the season.

Regardless of your hatred for the Twins as a Sox fan, you have to respect what they have accomplished, given their injuries and payroll. They now face their biggest test, defining the biblical identity of David when they face the Goliath New York Yankees.  On paper, this should be a fairly easy victory for the Yankees right?sox-harmony

After all, the Twinkies haven’t won a game in New York in over two years.  They are 0-7 in the regular season against the Yankees as well.  For those who claim that the post season is a brand new season, history is not on your side.  In two previous playoff series against the Yankees, the Twins are 0-2.

So why not be optimistic about beating a team whose collective salaries are more than triple your payroll?  How about the phrase “Fear most those who have nothing to lose?”

You could also argue that momentum is on the Twinkies side.  Despite the Yankees having the best regular season record in baseball, the Twins ended the season, 17-4- acting as baseball’s hottest team when it mattered most. Four intensely emotional games of baseball, 7 if you count their last series against the Tigers, extra innings, a tired bullpen, and a 3:00 a.m. touchdown in New York to play a 5:00 p.m. game: the Twins would not have it any other way.

If ever there were an underdog to love, it is the 2009 Twins.  My competitive hatred will resume after this season ends.

Prepare for a postseason without Detroit

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By H. Jose Bosch

I went into last night’s game fully expecting the Tigers to lose. There was no way, I reasoned, that Detroit could go to Minnesota, against a red-hot team and win this one-game playoff; especially with rookie Rick Porcello on the mound.

It was a self-defense mechanism. Emotionally, it was better for me to be pleasantly surprised than terribly disappointed.

But any sports fan can tell you that no matter how low you set your expectations, when the game begins that bar is still as high as the clouds. And after the Tigers took an early 3-0 lead, I was walking on cloud nine, 10 11 and 12.

Then Porcello’s error allowed one run to come in. Jason Kubel hit a 2-out homerun to close the deficit to one. And Orlando Cabrera, arguably the Twins’ best trade deadline move in ten years, slaps a two-run homerun off my least favorites Tiger.

4-3 Twins and I’m about ready to swear off religion forever because no caring God would have the heart to crush my excitement and enthusiasm so swiftly.

A Magglio Ordonez 8th-inning homerun restored my belief that this crazy world we live in isn’t, in fact, anarchy but that some forces of good exist out there.

And after Brandon Inge gave Detroit a 5-4 lead in the 10th I was ready to believe in just about anything. The moon landings were staged, there was a shooter in the grassy knoll and Bobby Thompson knew exactly what pitch Ralph Branca was going to throw him.

Of course this game was in Minnesota, Fernando Rodney was pitching for a second inning and Ryan Rabun isn’t Willie Mays. I don’t even want to talk about the rest of the game from that point because women and children do occasionally read this blog and I’d probably give the Supreme Court reason to believe free speech isn’t a great idea for everyone.

sad_tiger1Let’s just say once Carlos Gomez crossed home for the game-winning run I was released from a psychological torture that made the Saw movies look like double dutch. All of it left me depressed for investing so much energy into a single game that really should’ve never happened.

With an entire off season staring me in the face I have plenty of time to wonder what went wrong on Tuesday night. Did Leyland take Porcello out too early? Did he leave Fernando Rodney out too long? Why did Ryan Raburn drive for that ball in the 11th? How did that umpire miss the hit by pitch with the bases load in the 12th?

Plenty of fans will wonder that this morning and for the next few weeks. I’m just going to drop it all because debating those points and more won’t put the Tigers into the playoffs.

What makes this loss so tough is that now I have no reason to gnash my teeth, toss my pillows or throw the remote control into the ground. No reason to emotionally wreck myself or walk around my house with unadulterated rage built up inside of me for a purposeless child’s game. No reason to spend three hours watching my favorite sport and then feel like absolute crap. All because Detroit won’t be in the playoffs.

And that just sucks.

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Twins vs. Tigers: Who Do Sox Fans Cheer For?

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By Soxman

Two teams, one game, and the winner moves on to the postseason while the loser goes home for the winter.  Sox fans know this scenario oh too well as we needed the famous “blackout play-in game” in 2009 to earn our central division crown.  For Twins fans, it is as Yogi Berra says, “dejvu all over again!” So as the Twin vs. Tigers game on Tuesday approaches, several perplexing questions are likely peculating through White Sox fans minds:twins_logo

Who do I cheer for?  Is it wrong be interested in this game at all?  To pick a side?  Can I cheer for my enemy and still be called a Sox fan? As Hawk Harrelson would say:  “YEEEEAAASSS.” Before you read my pick, understand a couple of  things.

First, while I’m a diehard Sox fan, I’m also a fanatic of the game of baseball…period.  A tiebreaker represents all that is exciting in this game, even if a team only needs 87 wins to reach the postseason. Second, there is no right or wrong answer in this equation.  That’s the beauty of the game. Let’s examine some points of debate:

The “ex” Sox factor
The Tigers have Magglio Ordonez and former coaches Jim Leyland and Gene Lamont. “O wee OOOO…MAGGGLIO,” left Chicago via the Scott Boras express, and the perception among Sox fans was he used the Sox to get a better offer from the Tigers.  It was the first shot heard ’round the Cell, that the Sox would refuse to play ball with Boras. The Twins have Matt Guerrier, Jon Rauch, Orlando Cabrera and World Series Hero Joe Crede. Crede was a “Don’t Stop Believin” voice of the 2005 World Champion Sox.
Advantage:  Twins.


The Underdog Factor

Often synonymous with payroll, this year there is even more at play.  The Twins will be without their best power hitter Justin Morneau, and defensive stalwart Joe Crede, who both are out with back issues. The Tigers are without Dontrelle Willis and Joel Zumaya. Team Payroll?  Detroit has the 5th highest in baseball at just over $115 million. The Twins rank 24th at about $65.3 million. Advantage:  Twins

The Economy
With the flaying automobile industry and a depressed economy, Detroit has been referred to as a city “that needs the play-offs” as an emotional shot in the arm. Opponents argue, the Detroit Red Wings domination should be plenty.  People then counter argue with the Detroit Lions. Seriously though, according to a 2007 census study, Michigan has a 12% poverty rate, while Minnesota has an 8.1% poverty rate. Advantage:  Tigers

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Always the Bridesmaid Factor

While the Tigers won the AL Pennant in 2006, they did it as the AL wildcard team and have never won an A.L. Central Title since the 1998 realignment. The Tigers last won the World Series in 1984, their 4th in team history. The Twins have won the AL Central 4 times since 1998. They last won the World Series in 1991, their third in team history. Advantage: Twins by numbers, Tigers by Underdog Factor.

The Sox Hate Factor
This is pure opinion here.  I hate the Metrodome as a Sox fan because of our record there.  I hate the Metrodome as a baseball fan, as it’s a horrible place to watch a game.  I respect the Metrodome as an outsider because of the electric advantage it gives the Twins.
Detroit Tiger fans invade U.S. Cellular Field at a far greater rate and with a higher rate of irritability than Twins fans do.
Advantage: Tie

For me, its always about the underdog, or the little guy.  I’ve got to go with the Minnesota Twins.  With a total team salary that is 45% less than their opponent, and two of their better players injured, it’s amazing they made it this far.  Say it is so Joe…Crede that is. So for now….big gulp….larger swallow…Go Twins!  At least it’s not the Cubs.

And as Sox fans we can always say that we helped the Twins get there by taking 4 of 6 from the Tigers to end the season. To Twins Fan and Sportsbank Writer Peter Christian, remember who said your team would be here in August?  You can remember me in the Call Outs. Now that all the information has been presented to you, who are you cheering for Sox fans?

The exchange: Tigers-Twins showdown

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By H. Jose Bosch and Andy Weise

The Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins are the only real reason to keep track of baseball this week. For those of you lost in college football and the NFL, the Tigers are just two games ahead of the Twins and tonight is the first game of a big four-game series between the two clubs.

Twins fan Andy Weise and I exchanged e-mails about tonight’s game and the series.

HJB-My first question to Andy is why, WHY! do the Twins always come back despite being so mediocre during the regular season? I mean, off the top of my head I can remember just one season in recent memory where the Twins were clear cut better than everyone else. The rest of the time they just seem to stew in crappiness with everyone else until the last few weeks of the season. (I ask this because I respect the hell out of them for balling up late in the season, something the Tigers have had trouble doing.)

AW-Well it’s nice to see the respect. I don’t have the hatred for the Tigers like I have had for Cleveland and Chicago White Sox but I was disappointed last year in the Tigers vs. White Sox game that if Detroit one, the Twins would win the division and head to the playoffs.
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The Twins overachieved last year, in my opinion. They had an extremely young staff that did fairly well and Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer finishing in the top five for the MVP race proved that they have the star power to carry this team. It’s clear though that inconsistency in pitching has hurt them a lot this year. Guys like Glen Perkins and Francisco Liriano have been big time busts, they lost Kevin Slowey to injury and they’ve had to rely on guys like Carl Pavano down the stretch, not ideal!

What about the Tigers? Where do you see the problems on your team that have put them in a position where they could lose the division this week? They seem to have some big names in pitching and hitting but why haven’t they closed this thing out yet?

HJB-Those big name pitchers and hitters haven’t gotten the job done consistently. Edwin Jackson, who was a pleasant surprise of a Cy Young candidate, has gone 6-5 with a 4.80 ERA in the last two months of the season. Magglio Ordonez, who can reach base, just doesn’t have pop in his bat. Curtis Granderson is an electric player, but this season he’s been an awful lead off hitter. And the bullpen has chosen the final weeks of the season to pitch like we all thought they were: mediocre.

Don’t even get me started on the Jarrod Washburn deal. I would make that trade again but I want to just take a golf club to that freaking knee and put it out of commission for good.

And don’t be down on Pavano. He’s been a Tiger killer of late. Speaking of pitchers, look at the probable match ups:

Nick Blackburn (11-11, 4.18) v. Rick Porcello (14-9, 4.14)
Brian Duensing (5-1, 3.33) v. Justin Verlander (17-9, 3.41)
Carl Pavano (13-11, 4.86) v. Eddie Bonine (0-1, 4.60)
Scott Baker (14-9, 4.48) v. Nate Robertson (2-2, 5.56)

There are only two pitchers on this list I’d trust (Verlander and Pavano since he’s been a Tiger killer of late). Everyone else would make me nervous. Who do you like in this series?

I’m going to be optimistic and say Porcello, Verlander and Robertson can pull off wins. What’s your perspective?rick-porcello-kevin-youkilis

AW-I thought the Tigers getting Edwin Jackson was going to be a huge move. He looked good with Tampa Bay last year and I always see the Tigers making moves I wish the Twins would make. And you’re right on Pavano; he’s given the Twins a boost that they really needed with more than half of their rotation not helping this year.

As I look at the match ups for this series, tonight’s game features two guys who really need to step it up and show their team’s they can pitch in a big game setting. I do think Porcello is the better pitcher of the two right now but Blackburn has a little more experience. Tuesday’s match up with Duensing and Verlander will probably feature the best match up of them all. If the Twins can keep it close and get to the bullpen once Verlander goes out, I think Minnesota can come away with that one. Do you like Bonine against Pavano? I don’t know much about your guy but that might be a slugfest of a game. And finally, Baker versus Robertson is a good one given that the Twins haven’t hit good against lefties. Baker needs to rebound after his loss to the Tigers a couple Sunday’s ago and I think he can do that.

Offensively, Michael Cuddyer has to keep playing the way he has been playing. The Twins need production from some the lower part of the order too. Nick Punto looks like he’s finally getting some good at-bats and Jose Morales has proved that his bat can help too.

I think the Twins have to win 3/4, they can afford to lose one but not two. I think game two and four will be the ones where the Tigers are favored to win.

HJB-I’m conceding the Bonine game right now. I have zero confidence in him. I agree with your assessments of the other games, which worries and excites me at the same time. As a Tigers fan I’m going to be a nervous wreck but as a baseball fan I know these are going to be some epic games and a nice appetizer for the postseason, especially for the guy whose team makes the playoff (*cough*me*cough*).

verlanderThe only thing that worries me about the Verlander game is he has a tendency to give up a big inning late in his start and as you alluded to earlier, the Twins bullpen is pretty solid Detroit’s has shown flashes of brilliance but I’d rather spot them a 2-3 run lead rather than go into the bullpen with a tied game or (eeek) trailing.

Everyone in the lineup is a tough out; they just haven’t done it on a consistent basis (except for Miguel Cabrera). If there was ever a time for the line up to be clicking on all cylinders, it’s during this series. Some of the changes the Tigers made, like getting Adam Everett and Gerald Laird, were done because we didn’t need more sluggers and we needed a better defense in tight games. Now we’ll see how the moves pay off. These are going to be tight games and I don’t think Detroit can expect to slug its way into the postseason during this series.

Last question Andy. If you asked me the one thing I NEED to see in this series to make me feel good it’s a solid bullpen. As I said, I think these games are going to be close and Detroit will need the ‘pen more than ever (especially when Bonine and Robertson start). What’s the ONE aspect of the Twins’ game you want to see at its best during this series?

AW-One? Haha, I don’t know if there is just one. Off the top of my head I have two right now — starting pitchers cannot afford to let the game get out of reach early. If the starting pitchers for the Twins struggle early and let the game get out of hand, I’m going to worry. I’ve seen plenty of comebacks lately and some big innings from the Twins but I just don’t think they have the firepower to do that too much more. The pitchers have to keep the games close or protect leads if we have them.

The other thing like I pointed out earlier — Twins need to get offensive production from the infielders outside of Cuddyer. Punto, Matt Tolbert, Brendan Harris, Brian Buscher and Alexi Casilla, whoever they send out from all these guys, they have to produce some offense. It hurts the Twins big time if they can’t get some guys on base for the top of the order to hit home.

It’s nice that the race is only two games right now and the teams have four games head-to-head. You can’t ask for anything more exciting at this point. Overall both teams have been extremely inconsistent and probably do not deserve to make the playoffs but rules are rules, the division winner will make the playoffs and head to New York to face the Yankees when all is said and done.

There will be a live blog of tonight’s game at Michigan and Trumbull. Check it out!

Tigers must buck expectations to sew this pennant up

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By H. Jose Bosch

Thank you Ozzie Guillen.

Thanks to your tirade, not only are we blessed with another great sound bite, but you also fired up your club enough to win the series finale and keep the American League Central pennant “race” alive.

And let’s be honest, this isn’t a race as much as it’s two teams trying desperately to be the first one to hit the golf course this offseason. During this last month of the season I can’t help but think of the South Park episode — The Losing Edge — where South Park and all the other Little League teams try to lose so that they can enjoy their summer.
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Are the Tigers so sick of playing that they’d rather lose on purpose for comfy couches and college football? Well, no, obviously. They’re trying, despite what their results show. But trying doesn’t mean anything if there is 1 in the loss column at the end of the day. (I’ve filled my hokey coach speak quote of the day)

Detroit now has seven straight home games to end the season, the next four against the Twins, who stand just two tiny games back behind Detroit.

The good news is that the Tigers have played well at home all season. And three wins during the series would clinch the division title. The bad news is we’re relying on the Tigers to do just that, win when it matters and put this title away.

Nothing from this season has shown me Detroit can put this division away during this one series. Not that the Tigers don’t have the talent to win. But if Detroit sews this pennant up, it probably won’t be until the last two days of the season.

My heart says the Tigers will take the first three games and the rest won’t matter because they’ll be bathing in Champaign. But my head says Detroit will go 2-2 during this series and will need to clinch against Chicago on the weekend.

This post also appears at Michigan and Trumbull.

RIP Tiger Stadium: 1912-2009

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By H. Jose Bosch

Tiger Stadium, which stood watch at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull for nearly a century, will most likely be laid to rest today or tomorrow.

All that remains is a portion of the lower deck wall at the corner of Cochrane and Michigan.

The official age of death will be 97.

The corner of Michigan and Trumbull, known as Bennett Park, became the Tigers’ first home on April 28, 1896 — a 17-2 win over the Columbus Senators.

On September 24, 1896, Bennett Park became the site of Detroit’s first night baseball game when the team’s owner George Arthur Vanderbeck had workers string up lights above the stadium.

Bennett Park officially became a Major League park in 1901 and in 1907 and 1908 the field famously became the location where the Cubs clinched their last two World Series. The Tigers played their final season at Bennett Park in 1911.

Following that season the Tigers had acquired the rest of the block, demolished the “wildcat” bleachers beyond the left field fence, and reoriented the field by 90 degrees with the new home plate standing in the old left field corner.

On April 20, 1912, Navin Field was born and the orientation of the field and stadium would remain the same throughout the rest of the 20th century.

1935-wsIn 1935 the new owner, Walter Briggs, oversaw the expansion of Navin Field, increasing the seating capacity from 23,000 to 36,000. During that same year the Tigers won their first World Series, defeating the Chicago Cubs 4-2 and clinching the title in font of a capacity crowd at Navin Field.

Three years later, in 1938, the left field was double-decked to increase the capacity to 53,000 and the stadium was renamed Briggs Stadium. This was also the year the Detroit Lions began playing its games on the same grounds as the Tigers. Football was played at Michigan and Trumbull until 1974.

Briggs Stadium saw its second World Series championship in 1940 when the Tigers lost to the Cincinnati Reds in seven games and its first All Star Game in 1941. The series came back in 1945. The stadium hosted games 1-3 and Detroit went 1-2. But the Tigers became a part of Cubs lore once again when it went 3-1 the rest of the series and clinched the title in the last World Series game ever to be played in Wrigley Field.

The All Star Game came back to Detroit in 1951 and the National League won 8-3.

In 1961 the Tigers’ new owner John Fetzer renamed the stadium for the final time, giving it its most famous moniker, Tiger Stadium. That year was also one of the few times a team has won over 100 games without making the postseason. The Tigers, with 101 wins, finished eight games behind the Yankees.

The name Tiger Stadium wouldn’t see its first World Series until 1968 when Detroit battled the heavily favored St. Louis Cardinals. Detroit hosted games 3-5. For the first two games of the home stand Detroit’s fortunes were grim as the Tigers lost by a combined score of 17-4 and trailed 3-1 in the series.

But it was during that game five in Detroit that the momentum changed with the help of Willie Horton and Bill Freehan. The Cardinals had raced to a 3-0 lead and in the fifth inning Lou Brock doubled and St. Louis brockplaythreatened to break the game open. But following a single to Horton in left, Brock tried to score from second and was thrown out at the plate — thanks to a great block by Freehan — ending the rally and possibly saving the series. Detroit eventually won the game and the series for its third world championship.

By the 1970s Tiger Stadium was showing its age and the team and city decided to give the park a face lift. But before the park was changed, Detroit hosted its final All Star Game at Tiger Stadium in 1971. It was during this game that Reggie Jackson famously hit a home run off the light towers, estimated to be 520 feet from home plate. It was also Roberto Clemente’s final appearance in an All Star Game.

The Tigers won the American League East pennant in 1972 but the quality of play declined after that. In 1977 the old green wooden chairs were replaced by plastic blue and orange ones and the stadium itself was repainted blue to match the seats.

gibsonThe World Series came back to Detroit during that season as the Tigers squared off against the Padres. Detroit clinched the series in Game 5, at Tiger Stadium. Kirk Gibson provided the series’ exclamation point with a three-run homerun in the eighth.

The Tigers came close to another World Series in 1987 but fell short in the American League Championship series against the Minnesota Twins. On October 12, 1987, Detroit lost to the Twins 9-5 in what was Tiger Stadium’s final postseason game.

In 1992 new owner, Mike Illitch made more improvements to the stadium by adding the Tiger Den — a section between first and third on the lower level with padded seats — and Tiger Plaza — an outdoor concession area built in the old players’ parking lot.

Unfortunately the improvements were only cosmetic as the team itself played poorly for the rest of Tiger Stadium’s lifetime.

The final game at Tiger Stadium was played September 27, 1999. The Tigers defeated the Royals 8-2 and Robert Fick notched Tiger Stadium’s final homerun, hit and RBI with his eighth-inning grand slam off the right field roof. The ball was retrieved by Tiger personnel but its whereabouts are unknown.rob_fick

As are the whereabouts of Robert Fick.

In 2000, Tiger Stadium was the filming location for the HBO move *61 and played itself and Yankee Stadium for the movie. One year later, on July 24, 2001, the stadium hosted a Great Lakes Summer Collegiate Game between the Motor City Marauders and the Lake Erie Monarchs. It was the final time a baseball game of any kind was played at the corner.

The Tigers sponsored a fantasy camp in July 2002 in what was the final baseball-related public event held in the stadium.

On February 4 and 5, 2006, Tiger Stadium hosted Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Bowl 2006 as a part of the festivities for Super Bowl XL. It was the final time a public event of any kind was held in the stadium.

Since then the stadium has been standing dormant at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull, slowly but surely rotting and crumbling.

Its final fate was decided long ago but today the remaining physical vestiges of the stadium will be torn down. Rather than a rotting ball park, the corner of Michigan and Trumbull will now just be a large empty lot.

tiger_stadium_6-562x384Both scenarios are pretty depressing for Metro Detroiters.

Throughout the entire debate over whether or not to keep the stadium I always had a soft spot for Tiger Stadium and those who wanted to preserve it. I’m a traditionalist and love old historical buildings.

I’ve been to Wrigley Field and Fenway Park and fell in love with the history of both. My first Major League baseball game, the only time my dad caught a foul ball and the only time I’ve been on a jumbo screen are among the many memories I associate with Tiger Stadium. I would’ve loved to see it have the same fortune as Fenway or Wrigley but, unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

As much as I wanted to see the park standing, I couldn’t defend allowing it to rot the way it was.

So, for the final time, I want to say goodbye Tiger Stadium.

Goodbye.

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This post also appears on the blog Michigan and Trumbull.

All is right with the world (for now)

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By H. Jose Bosch

The Tigers avoided an embarrassing sweep in Minnesota and who, of all people, helped save the bleeding?

Nate Robertson.

Yes, that Nate Robertson, the one who has been battling against injuries and being a good pitcher most of the year. He threw five strong innings, allowed just two runs and struck out six batters in the Tigers’ 6-2 win Sunday afternoon.

He also stranded six runners, so his performance wasn’t easy on the heart, but he gave Detroit a mini-jumpstart, something the team needed desperately.

If you read my last post I made things seem really dire and it felt like it. But the Twins gained just one game on Detroit over the weekend which doesn’t sound as bad as saying “they lost two out of three games.” A three-game lead still isn’t comfortable, but it sounds a lot better than two games.

The Tigers still have to start hitting the ball better as they stare down their final two road series of the season but at least they have a good taste in their mouth going into Cleveland. And it helps to have a day off today this late in the year.

Placido Polanco is doing his part, hitting .371 during in September and Miguel Cabrera has been a picture of consistency all year. It’s time other players start showing some life right about now.

All Detroit needs is for a different guy to step up on each night. The Tigers don’t need Curtis Granderson so go on a tear or Carlos Guillen and Brandon Inge to start hitting better. But if any three of them can step up and have a big night at least once or twice over the last two weeks of the season, the Tigers will seal the deal on this pennant.

This is it folks. This is the point of the year where we all take a deep breathe and plunge into the deep abyss that is the end of the regular season.

Thirteen games.

Thirteen games until triumphant victory or soul-crushing defeat.

This post can also be viewed at the blog Michigan and Trumbull