Dontrelle Willis’s latest start resulted in more walks than outs. Charged with 8 runs he lasted only 1.1 innings and was done in by 5 walks and 2 homers. All the damage was self inflicted and thus ended the 2 game winning streak.
The Tigers hands are tied with Willis unless he agrees to go on a minor league assignment (and I’m not even sure of the roster legalities of that). He’s shown flashes of control amidst a consistent struggle with the strike zone since donning the English D.
Willis stood up in front of reporters and accepted responsibility and said all the right things. He gets credit for that. But it doesn’t help the team.
Does he stay in the rotation? It’s muddy at best right now. When Jim Leyland was questioned about Willis in the post game he simply spoke of Dontrelle’s struggles tonight and refused to answer any inquiries after issuing a terse statement. There was no talk of Willis and his status in the rotation. In other words, Leyland doesn’t seem to know any better than we do right now about D-Train’s immediate future.
Willis is too important to flounder at the big league level. If a minor league assignment is a possibility it’s probably best for all parties involved. As for back-filling? I’d guess Fossum joins the rotation and Lopez returns from bereavement leave.