Tigers' latest pitching conundrum

OK, here’s what we know about the Tigers’ pitching situation:

  • Jarrod Washburn’s left knee injury is more than just simple soreness. It’s now swelling, and it isn’t getting any better. And as it is now, he can’t pitch through it, leaving his next turn Sunday at Minnesota unlikely.
  • Because the Tigers don’t have an off-day until Monday, and Eddie Bonine would seem unlikely to start again on short rest, the Tigers can’t simply skip the spot for a turn.
  • Armando Galarraga is now available to pitch out of the bullpen, but he said the inflammation in his right elbow most likely won’t allow him enough pitches in an outing to start again this year.
  • Nate Robertson felt fine moving around Tuesday after three days of rest following his diagnosis of pelvic inflammation. He’ll try to throw a short side session Wednesday. If he can, he figures he’ll be available in the bullpen. Of course, that plan came before Washburn’s setback Tuesday night.
  • Zach Miner pitched effectively for two innings Tuesday, but manager Jim Leyland wanted to stop him there so that he could be available in the coming days. However, Leyland said, “Zach will remain in the bullpen.”
  • Jeremy Bonderman, the only other pitcher in the Tigers bullpen with recent starting experience, isn’t stretched out to start.
  • Leyland said he has no idea who will start Sunday, but planned to discuss his options with coaches Wednesday.

How Robertson feels in his bullpen session would seemingly play a major role in how the Tigers proceed. If he’s fine, he makes the Tigers’ options easier. If he isn’t, well, it becomes more complicated, and it gets a little closer to the “absolutely necessary” condition that Leyland placed on the possibility of starting Miner when he talked about it last week.

7 Comments

START ZACH !!!!!!!!!! I am getting nervous – real nervous.

I too am getting nervous, our pitching was so stellar for a while there, now we got people hurt left and right. Are we doing something wrong when rehabbing these guys, bringing them back too early that they return from the DL and right away start having problems again?

We can’t afford pitching problems, our offense is not strong enough. Shoot, last night we could have only given up 2 runs and still lost. I keep thinking we’ll make it to the postseason, but we can’t continue as we have the past week, it won’t happen. I hope Nate is ok, and I think we get Miner back in the starting rotation and let all these other guys that really are only good for a few innings stay in the bullpen.

However, Leyland said, “Zach will remain in the bullpen.”
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If JL sticks with that line of thought, yes he does have a problem with his rotation and nobody can help him solve it. It seems to me he wants Miner available to come in and bail out the various injured and ineffective starters he plugs into the rotation instead of just starting Zach in the first place. How many times has Miner warmed in the pen during the first innng? I’ve lost count. In fact, my wife and I just laugh now everytime we see Zach heating up out there as yet another starter falls flat on his face.
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Let’s put it this way. There was a guy who owned two cars. One was a beat up, wheezing old relic that broke down often. The other was a newer car that ran solidly. This guy always drove the old car while leaving his newer car in his garage. When I asked him why he did that, he replied that he needed the new car in his garage so he could use it in case his old car broke down.
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Whatever.
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–Rich

Hey sklant, don’t let yourself get too nervous. It just isn’t worth it for your health and well-being. The only way the Tigers have remained in first place is because no other team in their division has excelled. Yet. Even if the Tigers collapse and don’t finish first, the sun will rise on October 5. No one will be shooting the losing team or its fans. Although it might not be a bad idea to take some players to the wood shed for a good talking. No one seems to know exactly what the problem is, especially the hitting against average or mediocre pitchers. The person I feel badly for is Mike Illitch. He has poured his heart, soul, and plenty of money into this team. Their performance has been more than disappointing. I can’t really blame DD either. I think he has tried to do his best, unlike many players. I know some of these players have been underachieving lately but DD did get Pudge, Maggs, Guillen, Jackson, Washburn, Lyon and Huff, among others, to try to improve the team and while they may have for a time, most have failed lately. So relax, man, and don’t do bad things to your mental, emotional, and physical health. Okay?

It is indeed a conundrum but Leyland is taking an active role in making it such.
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The logical solution is to go to with experieinced MLB starter. I don’t mean Bonderman but rather, Miner. Zach is not my favorite pitcher but he has had a decent history as a starter. JL seems fixate on him as a reliever and the funny thing is he does not do well as a late inning guy and the times he does well seem to be early in ball games. Rich is absolutely right about the old coot’s stubborness in inssting that he NEEDS him out of the bullpen.
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Zach is brought in when others fail and it is too early to go to a true relief pitcher.
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What is JL’s solution? Throw a AAA” “bone”head in as a starter in a pennant race that is evaporating before his very eyes. How brilliant is that? Bonine might just pull off a miracle and have his teammates provide him with 5 or 6 runs and pick up a lucky win.
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JL is respnible for thi team not having a clear focus. With his ridiculous staements he makes during the year and his gruff face-saving they have not developed a resolve or committment and have not galvanized themselves into a well-oiled machine. They are an eclectic bunch of guys who do not play in sync with each other very easily.
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As JL insits there is no such thing as momentum you can “feel” the momentum building in Minnesota. As JL insists there is no such thing as “chemistry”, you can see it happening there as well.
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As far his credo about “the next day’s pitcher”, well every next day’s pitcher seems to have an advantage over whatever our starting lineup is. We rarely have two connsecutive good offesnive innings. We don’t provide add-on runs for our pitchers at times where contorl of the game is at stake. we don’t take a great defensive play into the dugout with us and fire us up offensively.
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Everyone tenses up with a man on 3rd and lees than 2 out–everyone on this team has failed numerous times in that situation.
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We need someone to take over as leader on this team–to take the emotional reins from the hollow leader that the team has annointed, Jim Leyland. We need a Miggy that models determination and skill to his mates, a Polanco that never quits, an Ordonez to reacquire his power hitting technique, a Thames to on a power surge, an Inge who refuses to strike out, a Granderson who finally sees the virtue of hitting to left center. We need all those things- we need teamwork.

Miner is “too valuable” in the bullpen? He’s been the worst pitcher we have in the bullpen. Zach was very effective as a starter for the Tigers in the second half of 2006 when the rest of the rotation was sliding, and again in 2008 when all four wheels were off the wagon. He’s been very mediocre in the bullpen. JL needs to come to terms with the fact that his theory about having Zach, the sinkerballer, to come in with runners on base, has been a total failure.
The spot in question now is Washburn’s start in Minnesota on Sunday. And that’s with Bonine already penciled in twice against Chicago and once against the Twins.
Figaro has been recalled, but probably as a reliever. He should take Miner’s place in the pen, and give Zach a start. Willis lurks. Dontrelle wasn’t sent far south enough for my taste.

Willis is back home, as far as I know. He isn’t throwing anywhere right now.

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