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Gameday Thread, #42: 5/20 vs. Tigers

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Webb (5-0, 3.48)
Bonderman (5-2, 3.42)

Ah, the joys of interleague play: Mets vs. Yankees, Cubs vs. White Sox...and Arizona vs. Detroit, possibly the most intense rivalry in spor...oh, who am I trying to kid? This is easily the most meaningless of matchups, making even San Diego-Seattle look like the Hatfields and the McCoys. Though this is the fifth straight year we've played them interleague, so perhaps MLB are trying to start something.

I keep associating Detroit with the awful team of a couple of seasons back; wonder if the rest of baseball, similarly, regards Arizona as a 111-loss outfit? For the truth in both cases is that they now appear to be substantially improved over those hideous years. Detroit has been bouncing around .500 all season - never more than four below, only above it when they were 2-1 after the third game. Carlos Guillen is hitting .371, but has knee issues and may not play today, while Dmitri Young leads the offense with six homers.

Jeremy Bonderman starts for Detroit, on an extra day's rest. He's a rightie, who lives on his 96 mph fastball, with backup from a nasty slider. He faces Brandon Webb, who has gone 8-2 in his last eighteen starts, dating back to August 2004. Comerica Park has a spacious outfield which help cut down on balls leaving the park, but inflates triples; we might see the speedy Terrero getting some time in center instead of the sub-100% Cruz.

Of course, the main change is the introduction of the designated hitter for this series (spit!). This probably means a relatively easy set for the bullpen, if our starting pitching holds up, and probably more work for Tony Clark as the DH.