Detroit Tigers News

Tigers Bullpen looking to rebound


Tonight’s Tigers/Twins game is a must rebound for the Tigers bullpen. With the recent mixup of the lineup, that has Carlos Guillen moving to the 15 day D.L. while Clete Thomas and Jeff Larish make the trip up to the parent club. Thomas will solidify the defensive outfield, now that Guillen is on the disabled list.  

With all these moves happening on the offensive side, the question has to be, “How much longer until the bullpen faces a major change?”

Maybe I am jumping off the boat just a bit early, but the way the pen has been pitching in close games, You would have to think somethings got to give.  So far, the Tigers sport the 20th best bullpen E.R.A. at 4.88, while pitching in the 23rd least amount of innings (only 75.2 IP). They have walked one of the lower amount of hitters in the league (34), and they are not getting extremely hard (81 hits compared to a league leading 115 hits given up by the Baltimore pen.

Maybe a lot of it has to do with controlling the hitters faced. Despite having the flame throwers at the back end, The Tigers pen is second to last in strikeouts. Again, it is only May, but in the American League Central, the race could come down to the pen. Take a look at last year’s White Sox. How about the Twins?  All of us fans have seen it. Solid starting pitching gets the team through six, but the bullpen blows the lead.  Freddy Dolsi or Eddie Bonine might not be the solution, but the Tigers really need either help, or deeper starting pitching in order to succeed.

News and Notes:

— Clete Thomas in the third slot? Tigers manager Jim Leyland is mixing things up for tonight’s game against the Twins. Curtis Granderson will move to fifth in the order, while Magglio Ordonez will hit sixth. Who is protecting Placido Polanco you ask? None other than recent call up Clete Thomas. This lineup seems to be a bit faster, and like Kurt covering at Bless You Boys, I believe that this will shore up the defense a ton in left. Thomas has a cannon, even with tommy john surgery.

–Interesting quote coming from Jim Leyland on his relationship with Justin Verlander in the Detroit News:

"“He’s too good not to do good,” Leyland said of Verlander, who struck out 11 in the 3-1 victory over the Indians on Sunday. “We won’t agree on this because we don’t agree on anything, but his concentration level is better this year between starts than it was last year.“Your in-between throwing session is very important.“But Justin Verlander is one of the best talents I’ve ever managed, probably has the best overall stuff of any pitcher I’ve ever had — and he has a bright future. I stuck by him all last year, saying he’d never gone through any adversity and it takes time to get through stuff like that.“He got out of whack and that’s the only thing that was wrong. But the sky is the limit for him.“We don’t argue. There are no issues between us, but he’s bull-headed and I’m bull-headed. There’s nothing wrong with that.“A lot of people who are married are bull-headed, but still love each other. I don’t love the son-of-a-gun, but I love having him on my team.”"

Wow, you have to love some of the quotable lines from Leyland. Why is my heart telling me that Leyland thinks everything is okay, while Verlander hates the son-of-a-gun.

–Tom Cage of the Detroit News says that Joel Zumaya’s Swagger is good for the Tigers.  Here is what Zumaya had to say after facing the Yankees:

"“The ball was coming pretty good out of my hand,” he said. “You know, I can’t stand the Yankees, man. I’m going to go right after them. But that’s just part of this game. I like to go after guys.”"