In this Thursday edition of Detroit Tigers Notes, we explore four articles pertaining to the pitching staff and also find out what it might look like if Miguel Cabrera was not an amazing baseball player and was instead a D-list pop star.
Mario Impemba gets all the of the attention that’s being given to rookie Bruce Rondon as he pursues the Detroit Tigers’ closer gig, but he also gets the fact that Bruce Rondon isn’t necessarily more critical to the team’s success than the other members of the bullpen. He identifies Al Alburquerque as a key piece in the upcoming season but recognizes that elbow health may be a concern for him.
Keeping Alburquerque healthy may be one of the underlying keys to a prosperous 2013 for the Tigers. So, while Rondon’s ability to make the leap as big league closer is vital to the Tigers chances, Alburquerque’s potential provides another option if Rondon falters.
Matt Wallace digs into the meaning of Jim Leyland’s statement that there are “six locks” in the bullpen right now. He identifies Joaquin Benoit, Octavio Dotel, Phil Coke, Bruce Rondon, Al Alburquerque, and Brayan Villarreal, but wonders what that would mean for the loser of the Drew Smyly/Rick Porcello rotation battle.
Regardless of the meaning of Leyland’s statement, we can see the Tigers’ bullpen is largely sewn up. We can be fairly certain about who will be handed close leads. There is just the slightest question of how the Tigers will want to construct the pen to deal with matchups and mop-up situations.
Jason Beck discusses Rick Porcello’s slider — specifically that he’s seemingly abandoned it altogether to concentrate on his curveball. Beck notes that, while Porcello discussed tweaking the slider in the offseason, he’s used the curve as his primary breaking pitch this spring and has stated that he’s trying to stick with just one for now.
At this point, the curveball seems to be a bigger pitch for him. And if he’s going to concentrate on one breaking ball, it wouldn’t bode well for the slider.
“Right now, I’m just working on one breaking ball,” Porcello said after Wednesday’s outing, “just working on getting the command of one and establishing that, and we’ll go from there.”
John Lowe reports that Max Scherzer is feeling fine and is ready to take the mound for his first spring outing on Sunday. The “delay” of getting Scherzer into a game caused some concern that perhaps there was a reason why he’d been held out of action, but Max says he’s just find and mentioned that he’s not behind according to the normal calendar. The spring schedule was extended due to the World Baseball Classic, so Scherzer is really starting his game action at the same time he did last season.
As Scherzer pointed out again today, he’s making his first start at the point he would if spring training were the normal length; he just didn’t partake of the extra week of this year’s exhibition schedule.
“I wanted to throw the exact same amount in spring training as I did last year,” Scherzer said. “I didn’t want to increase my spring training workload.”
Here’s Miguel Cabrera and Adam Jones lip syncing to an auto-tuned remix of Rihana’s “Diamond”. Because why wouldn’t this exist?