Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
For this entire season, I've held true to my principle and gut feeling that this team would be better than anticipated. On, April 6th, here's what I had to say about where the team would finish: "Given the uncertainty of the division, I see the Tigers winning 86 games and falling just one game outside of the division crown, finishing in 2nd place." (don't believe me? it's right here: TigsTown Roundtable: Tigers '09 Season) After the tumultuous season we've had, I just can't break with that prediction now. I see the Tigers losing tonight 5-3, with Zach Miner giving up two inherited runners in the seventh, and then one of his own, to take the game from a 2-2 tie, to a 5-2 lead for the Twins. The Tigers will get one back off of Jose Mijares in the eighth, but Joe Nathan will mow down the bottom of the order in the ninth to secure the win, and the division. The Tigers will bid adieu to the Metrodome and return to Detroit with their collective tails tucked between their legs, knowing what could have been with a three game lead in the division with just four games to play.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
I can tell you one thing that will be happening during tonight's game; I will be sitting in front of my TV, Granderson jersey, Tiger hat, and Tiger warmup shirt all worn with pride, along with a baseball bat in my hands as I grip it so tightly saw dust falls to my feet. Oh yeah, and I'll probably be rocking back and forth like Leo Mazzone until the final out is recorded. That I can guarantee will be happening. As for the outcome of the game, I think both Baker and Porcello will come out and pitch fine ball games, with both leaving as the owners of solid looking lines against the opposition. Both teams will score some runs, both bullpens will do the job, and I really think this game will be decided on the bounce of one ill-timed error. One of these teams is going to have a misplay that costs them a trip to the playoffs. It is only fitting after the Tigers made a strong off-season move to improve their defense, that defense will decide the ultimate fate of their season. In the end, I think a bad turf hop takes its toll on the hometown Twins and the Metrodome says good bye to the team by giving them a taste of what so many teams have felt as they exited the stadium over the years. Tigers win! Tigers head to the playoffs!
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I think the Twins will come from behind and top the Tigers 5-4. Both starters will pitch well, but after being held in check by Scott Baker last Thursday, the Tigers will nurse a two-run lead into the ninth. However, Fernando Rodney will be unable to hold the lead. The Twins will load the bases with nobody out on an infield single and two walks, but Rodney will rally and strikeout the next two batters, setting up a final showdown between the Tigers' closer and Joe Mauer. Rodney falls behind in the count, but manages to get it back to 2-2. Mauer fouls off tough two fastballs and a nasty changeup before Rodney jams him with a fastball that Mauer lifts into center field. The Tigers think they've got the game wrapped up, but the ball carries far enough out to center where the infielders can't make a play on it, and Curtis Granderson loses the ball in the roof. The ball lands behind Granderson and rolls to the warning track allowing all three runs to score giving the Twins the division. It would be a horrifying, yet fitting ending for the Tigers' travails in the Metrodome, not to mention the Tigers have yet to have a walk-off loss with Rodney coughing up a ninth-inning lead. It would also be par for the course for Michigan sports teams considering the Red Wings led the Stanley Cup Finals until losing Game 7 on home ice, and Michigan State's marvelous Final Four run to Detroit ended with a thud in the national championship game. I certainly hope it doesn't happen, but given everything that has happened both on and off the field (losing Mark Fidrych, George Kell, Chuck Daly and Bill Davidson within a very short time span), it has been a rough year for sports fans in Michigan.
Have your own opinion on the issue? Ready to talk about it? Follow along to the game with the TigsTown crew at Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins 10/6 Game Thread.