ST Game Post: Tigers at Braves

PREGAME: Is it just me, or does it seem that FS Detroit always seems to schedule one of their rare spring training telecasts the same day as opening day of the NCAA tournament? Tonight is an especially tough choice for me, what with Jeremy Bonderman making his first start of the spring (followed by Dontrelle Willis, Brandon Lyon, Bobby Seay, and Juan Rincon) and Michigan making their first tournament appearance of the millenium.

Anyways, if you choose to follow either game, feel free to comment here. I’ll be going PIP for a couple hours tonight.

Game Time 7:05

In Game: Two scoreless innings for Bondo. Good Stuff. Bad stuff is Placido Polanco hit with a pitch and he left the game immediately.

15 thoughts on “ST Game Post: Tigers at Braves”

  1. Polanco got hit on the hand by a pitch and left the game.
    Even though it was probably only a precaution, it scares the **** out of me that he left the game.

  2. Willis… sigh…. Do we have get to release him when he fails to make the rotation?

    (Fixed it for ya, Jeff.) 🙂

    Apparently Dontrelle went back to his old-style delivery for the last inning yesterday, and Leyland and Knapp were okay with it. They’ve totally given up on the guy, just grasping at straws.

  3. Stuck with Willis’ contract anyway. Send him to Double-A and have him work on hitting. He’s been a much better hitter than Ankiel was as a pitcher and can be a lefty-DH to possibly recoup some amounts we owe anyhow.

  4. They’re not talking about it, but you have to believe that the Brain Trust sees the same thing we see when it comes to Willis. He looks like a hyperactive cat on speed when he’s on the field. Totally over-jazzed. There’s no calm cool at all. He looks like he’s giving himself pep-talks the whole time he’s out there. And every third or fourth pitch is a total and complete random event. If Willis doesn’t trust himself — how can we? He simply cannot be trusted with the ball.

    He needs a sports psychologist, not a pitching coach.

    Not to be cynical, but if he makes the team, it’s fair to ask if the management is serious about winning. I really like the guy, and I know he’s got talent in his arm. But with so many guys in camp making emphatic cases to be brought north, how can you seriously keep Willis?

  5. Scots- you nailed it. Willis looks like a guy on the verge of a mental breakdown whenever he pitches. Mario and Rod talked about it a little last night, and I’ve read it elsewhere- that he looks great in bullpen sessions and non-game atmospheres, but then goes and gets shelled every time he’s in a game situation. At this point, how can the Tigers possibly break camp with him on the team? Especially with so many other guys pitching their way onto the team, like Rincon, Perry, Porcello, and whomever else, the only reason to bring him up would be because of his contract.

    BTW, if they cut him, don’t they get out of the last year of his deal? Meaning they would owe him this year, but none after that? Remember that DD has done this before with guys like Damien Easley, so I wouldn’t be at all surprise if Willis is cut.

  6. scotsw & Chauncey,

    I think its safe to say that there’s more to being “serious about winning” than deciding what to do with Willis’ based on his performances so far. I do share your concern that, with Willis, its not just that he walks guys – but how he walks them. On the other hand, its not as simple as bringing up the young talent.

    I think you would see the Tigers having to look outside the organization to fill in the lack of depth you’d find if they have to cut both Robertson and Willis. If they don’t, that means relying on Porcello, which in turn means that you need to plan on a long-reliever filling in every once in a while. In addition, you potentially need to have a back-up plan for who starts when he reaches his season inning limit. That’s a best case scenario where you have to hope that nobody gets hurt…and that still leaves you with all RH starters.

    If the Tigers break camp with Robertson and Willis, it might well mean that they think that waiting on them to regain form is just as likely to help the team as any of the alternatives, which in this case means trades. Whatever they decide to do, it certainly isn’t as simple as “cut Willis”.

  7. Andre- I don’t think that they should cut both Willis and Robertson, b/c I agree with you that you need veteran pitching to fall back on. But its also not as simple as “carrying Willis” with the team. The way he is pitching right now, putting him on the team would mean a loss everytime you let him pitch. But at this point, I don’t even know that you can call Willis a pitcher. I simply see no benefit in continuing to give Willis an opportunity in the bigs when he can’t even show that he can string 4 pitches together. If they send him to the minors, then thats one thing. But to carry him with the team when that could mean leaving someone like Rincon off the team makes absolutely no sense.

    Robertson at least has an excuse in that he had arm problems last year, and has certainly showed more flashes than Willis has at any point since Willis became a Tiger. I do agree with you though that there is benefit in keeping Robertson, especially based off of his recent performances.

  8. Baseball contracts are guaranteed in full, so cutting Willis would leave the Tigers on the hook for the remaining 2 years on his deal.

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