Alburquerque’s return crucial for Tigers

Alexi Ogando denied the Tigers a chance at a sweep of the Rangers. If Al Alburquerque is truly right with his arm, as he looked on Thursday, this might still end up being a huge game for the Tigers.

The Tigers now have David Pauley as another right-hander for the middle innings, but that doesn’t change one big fact about their bullpen makeup: They need Alburquerque and his strikeouts. His pitching Thursday in his first game action since July 24 suggests he has it back.

“Right now, I want to be healthy. No more injuries,” Alburquerque said afterwards.

Alburquerque missed nearly two weeks with inflammation around the ulnar nerve of his right elbow. He was cleared to pitch Tuesday and warmed up that night for a possible appearance, but never entered the game. With two outs in the eighth inning, he had his chance.

It was a three-run game, but manager Jim Leyland admitted later he was nervous like it was a closer than that.

“I was so thrilled when he went back out [for the ninth],” manager Jim Leyland said, “because the slider was 87 [mph] again and the fastball was 97 a few times. He hadn’t pitched in nine or 10 days, and he was probably a little tentative. He was probably wondering himself a little bit.

“I was alarmed, to be honest, after the first hitter. I was concerned. And then I saw it pick up, so I relaxed a little bit.”

The first hitter was a five-pitch walk to Ian Kinsler. Alburquerque settled down to retire the next four batters, including a strikeout of Josh Hamilton swinging at one of his nastier sliders.

“I felt a little shy at first, but I didn’t feel nervous,” Alburquerque said. “I felt really good today.”

That might be the best news to come  out of Thursday’s loss for the Tigers, who have had to juggle relievers to get through sixth and seventh innings without him.

8 Comments

Seems like I read somewhere that Al had a cortisone shot a few days ago. That scares me to think his elbow needed that kind of medication. Just don’t want him trying to pitch hurt. He sure is good, however.

Did we not want to win the game on Thursday? No Peralta or Avila? Texas had a good pitcher starting and we put in a triple A line up? And Kelly in his first start at 1st base? He could not make the throw home to get the triple play. Where were all the players on the bench? Off to KC early. I don’t care if it April or August, you play your best players. Someone posted a few days back, we need a winning streak. Go Tigers! –Dave

you don’t play your best players every night because they would get hurt. Peralta is due and Avila needs rest because he is a catcher – although I thought maybe he should have been the DH (cabby at 1B) yesterday.

There’s a Triple-A lineup with Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez?

It was stated that Penny now has 15 daytime starts. Does anyone know his record for those 15 starts? Has he been better or worse in the daytime? Maybe his style of pitching is better suited for a certain time of the day.

Read the freep, the SOC said that Penny had an electric fastball, Oh, and didn’t the Tigers have an off day Monday? Peralta and Avila got their rest.

Well I thought the plan for Avila could have been better employed by resting him against the lefty. No way I give him the day off against a RHP–like Evan says, you can also rest him by DHing him. Keepn in mind that it is a difficult porspect for Leyland to rest him at all. Against the lefty Avila had a HR and some huge RBI’s
The problem with the DH for JL is he has toomany guys that are DH stereotypes and he doesn’t want to use a young buck there, but Avila is a guy who’s bat is important against RHP. He should be simply swapped with Martinez sometimes. JL probably likes the relief he gets from haveing a catcher on the bench and not both playing–even though he has chosen to live life this way he often complains on how harrowing the thought of having them both in the lineup is.
But JL should remind himself that there are ways of resting Avila from the rigors of backstopping while keeping his bat in the lineup. Remember the interleague play?
As to the long run for Avila, I hope he doesn’t spend any more than 5 years as a catcher. A transition to a corner infield spot would prolong his career.

I don’t buy the “electric fatball” stuff at all. 11 hits and 3 BBs translate into a game WHIP of over 2.0. Combine that with ZERO Ks in almost 7 innings and I would be hard pressed to define that as “electric”.
Like I said earlier, Penny was acquired and paid to do more for the Detroit Tigers than he has.
As to him not getting some calls by the umps—I think he puts the umps to sleep they wake up when they hear the ball hit the mitt and by then it’s to late to say strike.
Just a theory.

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