March 17th, 2007
Now that I’ve taken my jaw off the floor after Xavier’s loss …
I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen with the opening day start. I thought Kenny Rogers made sense, especially if Jim Leyland wanted to put Justin Verlander in the fifth spot, but I also looked at the spring training rotation just after the games started and counted it out for about five weeks. If the rotation stayed the same, Opening Day would be one extra day for Bonderman, whereas it would require either short rest or a rotation tweak for Rogers.
Bonderman gets up for big games. He likes matching up against aces like Roy Halladay, and his game is at a point where it shows. He was outpitching Johan Santana that day in Minnesota at the end of July before the bottom fell out, just like he has outpitched other guys in his time. The Bonderman-Halladay matchup should just add another aspect to what should be quite a day at Comerica Park. And in a regular-season setting, you’re not worrying about Kenny Rogers feeding off the crowd.
Other stuff …
- Don’t read too much into Bonderman’s numbers from Saturday. He threw somewhere around 10-12 changeups by his estimation, some in counts where he normally wouldn’t throw it, and he got beat on a ground ball up the middle from Vernon Wells, something most pitchers would take in a regular-season setting. His one really bad pitch was a hanging sinker to Reed Johnson for a home run, and Bonderman otherwise felt like his breaking ball was pretty good.
- Leyland lauded a sixth-inning RBI single from Ivan Rodriguez, calling it one of the best at-bats he’s seen all spring. Pudge was in an 0-2 hole before poking a 2-2 pitch through the right side to score Maybin after his triple. Pudge’s average is up to .395 now, and that’s in a lot of at-bats.
- The Tigers wore green hats for the St. Patrick’s Day game. The Blue Jays wore green uniforms. I liked the Tigers approach better on that front.
- The tough part about your team getting beat in the tournament on a last-second shot is that you know that highlight is going to be on over and over again for the rest of the weekend. You either have to take it or not watch any more games until next week. Plus you can’t watch that One Shining Moment highlight CBS shows after the national championship game. But I told Bonderman I wasn’t going to pout, so I’ll leave it at that.
It’ll be Bonderman, Rogers, Verlander, Robertson and Maroth. More to come.