Game 114: Rays at Tigers
PREGAME: The Tigers look to win a series, something they haven’t done since Minnesota. And really, a split against Tampa wouldn’t feel very satisfying anyways – especially given that the Tigers are now tied for the Wild Card with the Mariners.
It should be a great pitching match-up with Scott Kazmir taking on Jeremy Bonderman. However Bonderman hasn’t been good for awhile. Kazmir on the other hand has been lights out with 5 straight quality starts in which he’s posted a 1.38 ERA and 38 K’s against the likes of the Red Sox, Yankees, and Angels. Over that span he’s allowed 4 doubles, the only 4 extra base hits he’s allowed.
Game Time 1:05
POSTGAME: Being at work I was listening to this game early on. I heard Bonderman searching for the plate for 31 pitches in the first inning, and I heard Kazmir retire the first 6 Tigers on all of 18 pitches. But 3 innings later the pitch counts had evened out. Bonderman went through the next 3 innings on 30 pitches while Kazmir started going to 3 ball counts and had trouble finishing hitters off. The Tigers had just squandered a great scoring opportunity when Guillen and Ordonez each fanned, on a combined 15 pitches. I was a little disappointed, but I left for my meeting thinking that this game could go either way…
And then I come back and find out it’s a blow out. Much like the night before, the starter struggled in the first, only to settle down. And when the offense failed to cash in on a scoring opportunity, said pitcher came out and got knocked around.
I don’t know what is wrong with Bonderman. I didn’t see him today so I don’t know what was the problem but it sounded like he had zero control of any of his pitches. I don’t know if it is his elbow that is hurting his control and making his slider not as sharp. Or if there is a mechanical issue at work. But this is as bad as I can remember him for an extended stretch.
I’m not frustrated with the offense this time. Kazmir is a tough pitcher and I’m perfectly willing to “tip my hat” to someone of his caliber. This wasn’t another Gavin Floyd performance. That said, the Tigers didn’t take advantage of the opportunity they mustered. But with the starting pitching once again struggling, it’s not as if scratching across 2-3 runs would have helped.
I really expected Bonderman to do something good today. But without Bonderman even being mildly effective, the Tigers just won’t have the starting pitching to get keep them in the post season hunt. His struggles, and his failure to correct have me as worried about this team as I have been at any point this season.