May 26th, 2011
Ryan Perry tried his best to find his old form this week. He shaved off the hair he had grown out since last offseason to return to the short-haired look he had as a rookie and a collegian. He put in one bullpen session after another to lower his arm angle and get the sinking action he had on his fastball two years ago.
The result Thursday in his first game since the adjustments — four outs, four hits, four runs and a walk — was more frustration for him, and more searching for the Tigers.
“I just don’t think his command’s real good right now,” manager Jim Leyland said after the game. “He’s really struggling. My heart aches for him.”
It’s a real problem for the Tigers. Much like Joaquin Benoit and the eighth inning, the Tigers need an effective Perry to help provide some order to the bullpen in the seventh. He has the best combination of experience and stuff of the guys they have in middle relief, with the potential for more. Alberto Alburquerque and Daniel Schlereth can cover the seventh, but they’re also going to have their growing pains, as they’ve shown.
Problem is, Perry is a third-year pro at age 22, and he’s having serious growing pains, too.
“It’s extremely frustrating,” he said. “I’ve never really dealt with this my whole life, so to do it at this level, it’s tough. But you have to push it out of your head and come out tomorrow and be ready to work.”
He looked like he was searching for the right arm slot from one batter to the next Thursday. When he had it right, he made some nasty pitches with good velocity. When he was off, his pitches flattened out.
“Same old stuff, just really not feeling comfortable in my delivery and my mechanics right now,” Perry said. “I think that’s just a big factor playing in my head right now.”
The question the Tigers have to answer in a hurry is whether he can get those questions out of his head and fix his mechanics in Detroit, like the more experienced Benoit did, or whether it’s going to take a trip to Toledo. If the latter is the answer, they might have to take the loss of depth as an investment in his future.
The Tigers have a couple roster moves looming, with Andy Oliver coming up for his start Saturday and Brad Thomas due back from the disabled list at some point. Those moves will likely say plenty about how the Tigers see Perry learning and correcting.
The Tigers have moved up the game time on their June 27 makeup game against the Blue Jays. It’ll now begin at 6:05 p.m. ET, rather than 7:05.
The move is a result of the City of Detroit’s annual fireworks display over the Detroit River that night. By moving up the game an hour, fans hopefully have a chance to attend both the game and the fireworks show.
The Tigers were scheduled to be off that day until their May 17 series finale against the Blue Jays was rained out. Fans holding tickets for the original date can use them on June 27 without having to exchange them.
After a couple days to “get him away from it,” as Jim Leyland said, Brandon Inge is back in the starting lineup. So is Don Kelly, but he’s playing left field today and batting second. Look for more on Inge in the Tigers notes today on the site, but Leyland said it’s a matter of Inge taking what he has been working on in the cage and carrying it into games. Inge said he feels like he has been hitting the ball well when he has made contact, but hitting it at fielders.
- Austin Jackson, CF
- Don Kelly, LF
- Brennan Boesch, RF
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B
- Victor Martinez, DH
- Jhonny Peralta, SS
- Alex Avila, C
- Scott Sizemore, 2B
- Brandon Inge, 3B
P: Max Scherzer
- Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
- Dustin Pedroia, 2B
- Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
- Kevin Youkilis, 3B
- David Ortiz, DH
- Carl Crawford, LF
- Drew Sutton, SS
- Josh Reddick, RF
- Jason Varitek, C
P: Alfredo Aceves
This time, at least, the Tigers got a few innings in against the Rays Wednesday afternoon before the rains came. On the stats sheet, though, it’s as if there wasn’t a single pitch.
The rainout leaves the Tigers with an interesting scenario coming up in June. As recently as two weeks ago, they had four scheduled off-days to look forward to. Wednesday’s rainout, along with last week’s rainout of the Tigers-Jays series finale, means half of those are now game days, as well as another scheduled off-day Sept. 1. They’ve had three rainouts in the past 11 days.
The good news is that the Tigers have managed to reschedule all these games without doing anything ridiculous. There was talk of rescheduling Wednesday’s rainout for June 23, which would’ve forced the Tigers to come back from Los Angeles without an off-day and start a new homestand. It also would’ve put the Tigers on track to play almost four weeks straight without an off-day. That wasn’t going to happen. The June 13 makeup date works a lot better, being in the middle of a homestand. It’ll still mean 20 straight days with games, the limit under the collective bargaining agreement. Anything more than that requires a vote of approval from the players on the club.
Still, it puts some extra work into a month that has proven big for the Tigers over the years. They have two West Coast trips between now and the All-Star break, and some challenging series. But the way the weather has been lately, they don’t have much choice. As Rays center fielder B.J. Upton pointed out by his reaction to a fly ball just before the rainout, they couldn’t have played on.