for this game

Bonderman, Tigers try to close out Yankees in ALDS

Oct 7, 2006 - 1:47 PM NY Yankees at Detroit 4:09 pm EDT American League Division Series Tigers lead, 2-1

DETROIT (Ticker) -- Not many people thought the Detroit Tigers had a chance to win one game against the New York Yankees. On Saturday, the Tigers will have a chance to close out the series.

Jeremy Bonderman will take the mound for the Tigers when they try to eliminate the Yankees in Game Four of the American League Division Series.

Finishing the regular season with a five-game losing streak, including a three-game sweep at home against the lowly Kansas City Royals in its series finale, Detroit squandered a chance to clinch its first division title in 19 years. However, the Tigers have been a different team in the postseason.

Using impressive pitching, Detroit has shut down a New York lineup that had been dubbed one of the deepest in playoff history. The Yankees were shut out 6-0 in Friday's Game Three and have not scored a run or advanced a runner in the last 14 innings.

Kenny Rogers, who struggled in New York's pressure-packed playoff atmosphere as a member of both the Yankees and the Mets, pitched a gem against his old team on Friday. The lefthander hurled 7 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing only five hits and two walks, while striking out eight before leaving to a standing ovation.

In Game Three, New York manager Joe Torre removed Gary Sheffield from the lineup and inserted veteran Bernie Williams, who is amongst the leaders in nearly every postseason offensive category. The move did not work as the Yankees are 0-for-18 with runners on base in the series.

Bonderman (14-8, 4.08 ERA) will make his first career postseason start. The 23-year-old struggled after the All-Star break, going 6-4 with a 4.87 ERA in 16 starts in the second half.

The hardthrowing righthander will try to join Justin Verlander and Joel Zumaya as the latest flamethrowing Tigers to baffle the Yankees. Bonderman, however, has struggled against New York this season, going 0-2 with a 5.68 ERA in two starts.

He will be opposed by Jaret Wright (11-7, 4.49), who will be called on to save the Yankees' season. The righthander has experience in big games after he started Game Seven of the 1997 World Series for Cleveland against Florida.

"I happened to be involved in another big game Jaret Wright pitched in, Game Seven of the 1997 World Series, and he was lights out," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "We're going to have our hands full and we know that. I think the big key for us tomorrow will be Bonderman's performance."

This year, however, Wright struggled to keep his place in the starting rotation. While he has pitched better lately, he has been branded a five-inning pitcher with his inability to work late into games.

Wright allowed two runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings in a 5-3 loss in his only start against the Tigers this season.

New York is 2-9 in its last 11 postseason games and looks a lot like the 2005 edition which could not come up with a key hit in their ALDS loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

"Offensively, we came up empty (Friday) and didn't do all of the things we needed to do to win," Torre said. "There is not much to talk about; we didn't do it."

Since the inception of interleague play, teams that have won the third game after being tied at 1-1 have gone on to capture 25 of 33 series.

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