ALDS:  Tigers vs. Yankees:  The Kenny Rogers Show

Kenny Rogers hasn’t had much luck against the New York Yankees. In 97.2 innings, Rogers has a 6.45 ERA and a 1.88 WHIP. His postseason record is equally unimpressive. In 20.1 post season innings prior to today, Rogers had an 8.85 ERA and a 2.36 WHIP. Even this Tigers fan didn’t think that Rogers had a much of a chance in Game 3 of the American League Division Series tonight.

Sometimes, it’s good to be wrong. Rogers wasn’t just good, he was great. He threw 7.2 shutout innings and gave up only five hits and two walks. The Yankees actually got a runner on base in each of the first eight innings, but seven of those runners never left the base they started out on and none of them scored. Rogers struck out eight Yankees and that was one short of his season high. The only guy who seemed to have him figured out was Jorge Posada. He was the only Yankee with two hits off of him.

The big inning on offense for the Tigers was the second inning. The Tigers scored three runs on four singles and there was some controversy in the inning. Sean Casey came to bat with runners on first and third. He singled, Carlos Guillen scored and then Ivan Rodriguez tried to get to third base. The throw got there in time and it looked like Alex Rodriguez tagged him before he touched third but the umpire called him safe. That call potentially cost the Yankees two runs because not only did Pudge score, but there was another run scored with two outs.

Unfortunately for the Yankees, the Tigers could have scored just the one run and they still would have won with the great performance by Kenny Rogers. The Tigers put two more runs on the board in the sixth inning on an obviously tired Randy Johnson and he left the game with five runs to his credit. You have to give the Big Unit credit though. A herniated disk isn’t a minor injury and he pitched through it. I just think Joe Torre kept him in there for one inning too long.

The Tigers did get a sixth run in the seventh inning on a solo shot by Curtis Granderson, but by then this game was pretty much over with. I did think Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland may have made a mistake with his pen. Even with a comfortable six-run lead, he threw in Joel Zumaya with two outs in the eighth, and then Todd Jones came in to close things out in the ninth. I would have thought he’d want to save both of those guys (although Zumaya only threw a handful of pitches) and maybe go with a guy like Fernando Rodney or Wil Ledezma, neither of whom has seen any action in the playoffs so far.

Granderson has an RBI in each of the three games in this series, and he’s the only player on either team with two home runs. He’s driven in five, scored three times and he’s 5 for 12 with a triple and the two home runs.

Tomorrow’s listed starters are Jaret Wright and Jeremy Bonderman. While I’m pretty certain Bonderman will throw, it’ll be interesting to see if Joe Torre throws Wright in there in a critical Game 4 or goes with Chien-Ming Wang on three days rest.

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