June 14th, 2009
Talking with Dontrelle Willis after his 3 2/3 innings and eight walks Sunday, there was a sense of urgency that he hasn’t really discussed much since he’s been up here. He kind of addressed when he returned a month or so ago, but in a sense that he wasn’t worried. Sunday, the sense of letting down his teammates was obvious, as was the sense that he might be getting his last shot, if he hasn’t already.
“Honestly, today was just unacceptable. I can’t put my team in that type of hole. Can’t beat anybody pitching like that. It’s very tough to pitch when you’re in a jam every inning. I’m going to have to finally do something, or somebody else is going to have to go out there to help this ballclub win. Because I just can’t go out there and do that.
“It’s hard for us to come back from a deficit like that. Even when you get out of a jam, it’s tough for the team to be out there all day. You can’t defend a walk. So [I’ll] try to find a way to get the ball in play, or Skip’s going to have to find somebody to do it. I’m going to have to kick it into gear and get it done, step it up.
“I appreciate Skip giving me the leeway to go out there every time. Every time he gives me leeway, I go one step forward and two steps back. It’s just unacceptable, and I’m disappointed in myself the way I played today.”
When asked about the importance for him to hit the outside corner against right-handed hitters, which he missed so often over the last couple starts, Willis wasn’t looking that limited.
“Not only that, but just throwing the ball and making them hit it. I don’t care what corner it is. Just go out there and establish that I can throw the ball over the plate and not get in a jam where it’s all of a sudden bases loaded, no outs and I have to make pitches. It’s tough to pitch out of jams every single inning consistently.”
Asked how he gets through this, he said:
“I have to do a better job, and it starts today with me going out and watching what I did wrong today, going back after the off-day and working harder to stay focused get it done. It’s just inevitable. I have to do that, or else Skip’s going to have to find somebody else that can do that. It’s just the bottom line. We’re a good ballclub. We’re a great defensive ballclub. So I have to force the issue of contact. This is the bottom line. I’m going to work harder. I’m not going to give in. And I know I can come back, because I’ve done it before.
“Every time Skip gives me leeway, I do this. I take one step forward and two steps back, and one step forward. I’m just sick of it myself.”
The Tigers and Pirates are celebrating the 100th anniversary of their 1909 World Series matchup today not just with throwback jerseys, but throwback atmosphere: No ballpark music, no mascots, no flashy graphics on the scoreboard. It’s just a coincidence, but there’s an old-school feel to the Tigers lineup: Less power, more speed, especially in the top third of the order.
- Kelly, LF
- Santiago, 2B
- Anderson, RF
- Cabrera, 1B
- Granderson, CF
- Inge, 3B
- Laird, C
- Everett, SS
- Willis, P
- Andrew McCutchen, CF
- Andy LaRoche, 3B
- Freddy Sanchez, 2B
- Craig Monroe, LF
- Delwyn Young, RF
- Eric Hinske, 1B
- Robinzon Diaz, C
- Jack Wilson, SS
- Ross Ohlendorf, P