Detroit Tigers: Zimmermann Just Wasn’t Ready
When a streak is going, why change anything? After spending time on the DL, Detroit Tigers Jordan Zimmermann pitched a doozy of a game that brought the eight-game winning streak to a close.
It was clear from the start of the game that Zimmermann just wasn’t ready to pitch. And, unfortunately, the Tigers never recovered.
He is far from the pitcher that dominated the MLB in April and it looks like he most likely will not get back to that form during the 2016 season.
When he left the game in the second inning, after giving up six runs. The Tigers tried to chip away at the White Sox lead, but they could only score three.
Zimmermann probably needed a few more rehab starts before he returned to the MLB mound. When he last pitched for the Toledo Mud Hens, the report from Brad Ausmus was that he: “Feels healthy, didn’t feel sharp.” In the MLB, sharp is necessary. Pitchers need to hit their spots with the correct velocity and movement. Against the White Sox, Zimm could not get the combination together. His outing was batting practice for the Sox.
The word is that Zimmermann will undergo an MRI to assess the lat tightness that took him out of the game.
Fortunately, the bullpen pitched well through the remainder of the second inning and the rest of the game. After Zimmermann left the game, the White Sox were shut out.
Alex Wilson got the last out quickly in the second and pitched two more innings. Kyle Ryan came in a delivered three solid innings, too. Even Mark Lowe did not allow any runs in his two innings of work.
When members of the bullpen not named Justin Wilson, Shane Greene, and Francisco Rodriguez can perform to that level of success, it should give fans some hope that the current crop of Tigers is for real. Had Zimmermann not pitched, the Tigers could have kept the streak going.
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But, we cannot focus on could have’s and should have’s…
So, now the Tigers have two starting pitchers suffering from back-related troubles. Mike Pelfrey and Zimmermann. Fortunately, Daniel Norris also pitched on Thursday, but his outing was significantly different from Zimm’s. He pitched in seven innings, allowing five hits, and one earned run. He struck out seven. It is true that Norris has been a bit inconsistent on the mound with the Tigers, but this start shows some hope.
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It’s time for Norris to come through for the team that needs solid pitching to get to the postseason. Along with Norris, Matt Boyd, and Anibal Sanchez need to pitch well, too. This situation with Zimmermann and Pelfrey also puts more pressure on Michael Fulmer, who as a rookie needs to have his innings and pitch counts closely monitored.