Postgame from Wednesday
While the bulk of the pitching story from Wednesday’s win over the Blue Jays belonged to starter Jeremy Bonderman, two other intriguing situations followed him. First was the first spring outing for Nate Robertson, who had a solid third inning before struggling in the fourth. Next was Ryan Perry, who got an unexpected test and pitched his way out of a jam.
Robertson said he had a mechanical flaw pitching out of the stretch that came up during the fourth, which kept him from stopping the bleeding for a while. Five straight Blue Jays reached base safely on him, leading to two runs as well as a bases-loaded, no-out jam.
“I was yanking [the ball] a little bit,” Robertson said. “Other than that, I felt great. I’ve got to make that adjustment, though, a little bit quicker. And it took me until I got the the strikeout [of Travis Snider] to walk off the mound.”
The strikeout of Snider for the first out ended up being his last pitch, but more directly out of pitch count than who was coming up. Leyland said later that Robertson was three pitches shy of his limit, so he didn’t want to risk pushing him past that in his first outing of the spring to get one more outs when he needed two outs to get out of the inning.
Plus, as Leyland thought about it, he felt it would be a good test for Ryan Perry, who’s vying for setup work in the revamped Tigers bullpen.
“This is a perfect situation for Perry,” Leyland said.
On came Perry, and back in he came to the dugout soon after that with an inning-ending double play grounder. He stayed in to pitch a scoreless fifth.
Other tidbits from Wednesday:
- Brent Dlugach gave himself a birthday present Wednesday by smacking a solo homer as part of a two-RBI, two-hit day. He had a little help from the wind gusting out, but it was also an opposite-field shot for him that was hit very well regardless.
- Wilkin Ramirez again showed why he can be an all-around offensive catalyst if he can stick in the big leagues. He helped the Tigers score one of their ninth-inning runs without a ball getting out of the infield. He beat a throw for an infield single, stole second, took third on an error, then scored on another ground ball for an out. “There is no substitute for speed,” Leyland said. “He created a run just with his legs. That’s nice.”
- Leyland on the comparatively chilly, windy weather in the area Wednesday: “It’s just like Opening Day in Detroit.” The Blue Jays announced the first-pitch temperature as 48 degrees with winds around 25 mph, while weather.com listed the temperature in Dunedin at 52 with 30 mph winds.