Are things looking up for starters

It has been a tumultuous spring for the Tigers starters. Exactly what you wouldn’t want to see with the hopes of the team largely relying on the incumbents ability to bounce back from a rough 2008. Bonderman injured. Verlander working on mechanics. Willis, Robertson, and Miner playing hot potato with the 5th starter spot. Galarraga not doing a whole lot of anything (literally). If it weren’t for Porcello the first few weeks of spring games would have been a disaster. But are things turning around?

Justin Verlander went 6 innings on 70 pitches and only allowed one hit today. The K’s weren’t there but everything else seemed to be working.

Nate Robertson turned in 3 scoreless and efficient innings over the weekend. His first positive outing. He’ll actually get a start on Friday with Rick Porcello being pushed back a day because of his finger.

Jeremy Bonderman felt good enough after his simulated game that he’ll pitch for real Thursday night.

And if you look hard enough, you can even draw some positives from Zach Miner’s outing on Monday. Yes, the final numbers don’t look good. But if you watched the inning, it was set up with a couple weak hits. Miner has continued to throw strikes at least, and it appeared on Monday he was keeping the ball down. He’s understandably frustrated.

A couple of good outings isn’t a reason to get excited. But even a couple is better than none. Maybe they are rounding into form.

20 thoughts on “Are things looking up for starters”

  1. What about Jackson? He has been solid. He got a little tired at the end of his last outing, but otherwise looks like a nice 2-3 spot in the rotation

  2. It’s a little disappointing that Armando hasn’t gotten more work, I hope he’s ready for the season despite the lack of live hitters.

  3. I’m a bit worried about these guys breaking camp and not being ready to play as a team. Guillen, Maggs, Granderson, Cabrera, and Galarraga all (did I miss anybody?) off playing (or not!) WBC fantasy baseball; Bonderman and Zumaya injured. Having 25+% of your team miss spring training isn’t very encouraging.

  4. 10 predictions from Bill Simmons aka The Sports Guy.
    #7 is the relevant one for here. Remember, you heard this from me first a week or so ago.

    SG: I have 10 for you, other than the one from last Friday that the 2011-12 NBA season will be canceled by a lockout. First, Jay Leno will be hosting “The Tonight Show” again by September 2010. Second, the words “Michael Phelps” and “rehab” will appear in the same sentence. Third, at the end of the NBA Finals in June, one of the happy players will yelp happily to Michele Tafoya, “We goin’ to see Oh-baaaaaaaa-maaaaaaaaaaaa!” exactly how I just wrote it. Fourth, America will turn against Judd Apatow. Fifth, they’re going to figure out a way to retroactively test all the Olympic urine samples from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, and that will become the next gigantic sports scandal that dominates your life (and not in a good way). Sixth, Mike and the Mad Dog will be back together in time for Opening Day 2011. Seventh, the Detroit Tigers will have a fire sale for their players starting in June that will rival anything the Marlins ever did. Eighth, Howard Stern, David Letterman and Bruce Springsteen will all retire within three months of one another, it will happen within the next 30 months, and all three of them will do it quietly without fanfare. So, there you go.

  5. Yeah stephen, saw that Simmons article at the beginning of the month, figured that’s where you got your firesale ideas.

    If the Tigers are faltering around June, I think you might see some moves, but the idea of a firesale ala (or bigger than) the Marlins is ignoring some key differences between the two teams market sizes, fan bases and ownership philosophies. If the Tigers are good, I think that people will go to the games in spite of the economy. I mean, its summer, what else are you going to do after the Wings win the Cup (knock on wood). Besides, I’m sure that “the Tiger Woods guy” in the White House will turn that around soon enough (thanks Will Ferrell).

  6. Simmons really seems to enjoy needling Detroit fans for some reason, and I think he’s as much off on this one as when he complained about Beckett’s extension.

    I think the Tigers will probably hang around .500 most of the season and if they do that they will be within shouting distance of the playoffs until August or September. That and the Tigers’ big names will put butts in the seats, bad economy or not. After all, it’s not like the Detroit area economy has been rocking the last couple years.

    The other reason, besides saving money, to do a fire sale is to admit you need to rebuild and acquire young talent. With the Tigers’ situation, dumping the big salaries wouldn’t accomplish that because so many of them are being paid more than what they would get if they were free agents. How are the Tigers supposed to acquire talent that way?

  7. Has the Sports Guy been right about anything since The OC went off the air?

    Galarraga, looked terrible last night. I’d like to see him working with Knapp, not the Venezuela pitching coach. I’m entirely uninterested in the WBC.

  8. To be honest, of all the things that we could worry about this spring, the Tiger’s heavy involvement in the WBC is what has me the most concerned. I tried prompting Billfer on this a while ago, to no avail (sniff sniff).

    My questions, now posed to all, included:

    – Do the Tigers have the choice to hold players out of the WBC?
    – If optional, would there be much fallout in terms of player happiness?

    I think the Tigers would benefit more than most teams from a strong start to the season, so it seems strange that they would allow so many key players to participate at the cost of team cohesion and overall preparation. That Galarraga hasn’t pitched much and Guillen hasn’t seen LF only adds insult to injury.

  9. Oh man, I’m not saying the WBC is the best thing ever, but it is so much more interesting than watching spring training games. And i think it does matter to the non-American players where representing their countries is a huge deal.

  10. @andre

    I don’t know that the Tigers can dictate that players not participate but they could strongly discourage it. Most of the guys playing really want to play for their countries or they would opt out. As such, I think it could lead to hard feelings.

    I agree. I do like the WBC. But I liked it better in 2006 when the Tigers had a bunch of players get to play and then return to the team quickly. I don’t like it as much with Guillen getting NO reps in left, Granderson getting 4 at-bats a week, and Galarraga hardly pitching.

    As for a fire sale, I just don’t see how the Tigers have the pieces to fire sale. Polanco yes. If Rodney and Lyon are pitching well at the trade deadline and the team is out of it they may have some value. But that’s not even $10 million in savings. The biggest contract they could reasonably move and get a return on is Granderson’s and I don’t see that happening.

  11. At the risk of jinxing him:

    Detroit IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
    Robertson 4.0 2 0 0 1 5 0 3.27

    guess he’s intent on staying ahead of Verlander in the battle for #1 starter…

  12. Mark,

    Yeah, its from today’s game vs. the Nats: (

    He had a pickoff too! The #1 starter comment is more of the “be careful how much stock you put in spring training” variety, but Robertson now overlaps into the “see how quickly things can change” section too.

    Oh, and David, cover your eyes…Sheffield had another dinger (game has yet to finish as I post).

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