The Tigers beat the Rockies 7-1 tonight behind Eddie Bonine's sharp 8 IP and Curtis Granderson's 4 H (2 triples) and 3 R. Detroit is 39-40 and could reach .500 Saturday for the first time since being 0-0 on Opening Day.
Detroit is 15-4 in its last 19 games. That coincides with Jeremy Bonderman going on the DL and reliever Todd Jones proclaiming it just another chapter in the greatest comeback in baseball history. Jones is looking prophetic, for now.
Entering tonight's game, the Tigs staff had a 3.63 ERA during the previous 18 games. The pitchers were limiting hitters to .259/.325/.397 for a .722 OPS. They'd allowed 73 R.
Meanwhile, the Detroit batsmen were .306/.363/.500 for a .863 OPS during that span, with 97 R. Interestingly, they had almost the identical number of Ks and BBs (118/57 to 114/59) in the 18 games preceding their hot streak. During those previous 18 games, they batted just .254 and slugged .411 in going 8-10.
I'll repeat, the pitching is the biggest factor in this turnaround. Bonine has been good in his last 2 starts, much better than anything Dontrelle Willis provided and much better than anyone could have hoped. Getting back Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya might have been a bigger plus for the psyche than anything else at this point, but we'll take that for now.
Gary Sheffield appears to be healthy and Granderson has got his groove back. He might be the most vital piece of the offensive puzzle. During the Tigers' 14-4 run entering tonight, Granderson batted .387/.424/.581 for a 1.005 OPS. He had 2 HR, 7 RBI and 11 R. He has a 15-game hitting streak in the works. Detroit is 31-27 in games Grandy has appeared.