The Great American Baseball Trip

Game 10

Baltimore Orioles vs. Detroit Tigers

Thursday, July 3, 1997 - 7:05pm

Tiger Stadium

Detroit, Michigan

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Pre-Game Report
 This game pits the best team in the American League against the weakest team in the AL Central. Who do you think will win? Well, the Tigers have come off of a very strong interleague series against the Mets and just might be able to pull off an upset.

Stadium Stats - Tiger Stadium

Surface: Grass
Capacity: 52,416
Dimensions: Left Field: 340 feet, Center Field: 440 feet, Right Field: 325 feet

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Team Profiles
Orioles's Logo

Baltimore Orioles

 After losing in last year's playoffs to the New York Yankees, General Manager Pat Gillick made significant changes to the roster, in hopes of climbing out of the shadow of the defending champs. The biggest of all the deals was stealing free-agent Jimmy Key away from the Bronx bombers to bolster the O's already strong starting rotation. But, Gillick was forced to give up big-ticket outfielder Bobby Bonilla and DH Eddie Murray and the Orioles will feel their loss.

 Off-season additions have given manager Davey Johnson, who has never finished lower than second in any of his nine full seasons as a big league manager, the tools he needs to finally beat the Yankees. Key will join Mike Mussina and Scott Erickson in one of the strongest starting rotations in baseball. Rocky Coppinger (assuming he can stay out of the minors) and Shawn Boskie will look to fill the four and five spots. Depth still plagues the Orioles bullpen with Arthur Rhodes, Mike Johnson, and Jesse Orosco looking to pave the road for erratic but talented closer Randy Myers.

 Offensively and defensively, the Orioles are strong. Ironman Cal Ripken continues his streak at third base for the first time in over a decade, but is joined by Mike Bordick and Roberto Alomar in one of the most talented infields in the big leagues. Brady Anderson, who hit 51 homers last year, is joined in the outfield by former Reds star Eric Davis, and looks for the third spot to be filled by either B.J. Surhoff or Jeffrey Hammonds. And, assuming he can stay healthy, Designated Hitter Pete Incaviglia will provide the O's with consistent power.

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Detroit Tigers

 Tigers manager Buddy Bell is known around the league for having incredible patience. This season will certainly test his patience. The Detroit Tigers cleaned house over the past few years, off-loading (among others) Cecil Fielder, Ruben Sierra and Gregg Olson. And, the 75% turnover on their roster, and bargain basement talent, have left the team ready to make a run for the pennant...in 2006. Still, General Manager Randy Smith, who rebuilt the San Diego Padres at rock bottom prices, has put together a young, talented, albeit unknown lineup that will win enough games at key times to frustrate the leaders of the American League East.

 The Tigers, coming off a franchise record 109 defeats in 1996, have a mediocre starting rotation including Omar Olivares, Felipe Lira, Justin Thompson, Doug Brocail and Willie Blair. Both Blair and Brocail are young pitchers who bring little game experience to the mound and Lira went his final 13 starts of last season without a win. Thompson, who has the strongest arm on the team, and Olivares, who allowed only 169 hits in 160 innings or work despite lacking significant pitching talent, can bring the Tigers into the late innings, but have little support behind him in the bullpen. With the loss of any definite closer, the Tigers are forced to depend on Dan Miceli or Tood Jones, neither of which have shown ability as a closer in outings with other teams.

 Fortunately for the pitching staff, the Tigers offense has a lot of potential. Tony Clark, the 1990 first round draft pick has finally earned a permanent spot on the team and is expected to have a twenty homer season and Brian Hunter will be a constant lead-off hitter and base running threat. Left fielder Bobby Higginson has potential to be an all-star, Damion Easley has shown flashes of offensive brilliance, and Curtis Pride finished last season hitting above .300. Finally, Travis Fryman, despite moving to shortstop, remains a veteran producer on this otherwise in-experienced team.

Post-Game Report
 The stadium is one of the oldest in the majors and has a funky smell, but it sure knows how to host a ballgame. Just ask the Orioles who came to Detroit and spanked the Tigers 10-1. Click here for all the details. . .

Highlights from the Motor City

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