March 25th, 2010

Thursday night: Tigers vs. Nationals

A between-games trip across Florida brings us to Viera for Jeremy Bonderman’s portion of today’s pitching performance. He’ll have Detroit’s starting outfield and double-play combo behind him.

TIGERS

  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Damon, LF
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Larish, 1B
  5. Avila, C
  6. Sizemore, 2B
  7. Everett, SS
  8. Dlugach, 3B
  9. Dirks, DH

P: Jeremy Bonderman

NATIONALS

  1. Nyjer Morgan, CF
  2. Ian Desmond, SS
  3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
  4. Adam Dunn, 1B
  5. Josh Willingham, LF
  6. Ivan Rodriguez, C
  7. Mike Morse, RF
  8. Alberto Gonzalez, 2B
  9. Eric Bruntlett, DH

P: J.D. Martin

Thursday: Tigers vs. Jays

Jim Leyland will admit that having split-squad games at different times in different towns this late in the spring is a pain, partly because of planning out the two rosters this late, partly because of the effort to try to make it to both games to evaluate. Still, he isn’t downplaying the importance of the two split-squad games today — Dontrelle Willis starting in the day, Jeremy Bonderman starting at night.

“This is a big day for us, a big day and night,” Leyland said.

Here are a few things that should be big to look for:

  • Dontrelle’s command and velocity: How hard can he throw while commanding the strike zone? He showed the 93 mph fastball Monday against the Jays while throwing eight of his 11 pitches at 90 mph or above. He needs to do that while pounding the strike zone.
  • Bonderman’s splitter: Leyland wants to see him throw the pitch, and he’s emphatic enough that he’ll have catcher Alex Avila calling for the splitter and made a strong suggestion that Bonderman should not shake it off. Can Bonderman command the pitch and get good results from it, to the point where it’s a little more than a show pitch?
  • How hitters react to Dontrelle’s pitches: Can he get swings and misses on pitches in the strike zone? When they do hit it, how well do they hit it? This should be particularly intriguing, since he’ll be facing the Jays for the second time in four days.
  • Endurance: Dontrelle is slated to go to 60-65 pitches, while Bonderman will be stretched to 75 pitches for the first time in quite a while. Bonderman doesn’t expect it to be an issue, because his arm has felt good all spring, but it’ll be watched.

TIGERS

  1. Thomas, RF
  2. Raburn, 2B
  3. Guillen, DH
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Laird, C
  6. Ramirez, LF
  7. Inge, 3B
  8. Kelly, CF
  9. Santiago, SS

P: Willis

BLUE JAYS

  1. Mike McCoy, 2B
  2. John McDonald, SS
  3. Adam Lind, DH
  4. Vernon Wells, CF
  5. Randy Ruiz, 1B
  6. Jeremy Reed, LF
  7. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
  8. Travis Snider, RF
  9. Jose Molina, C

P: Marc Rzepczynski

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