Starting pitching not so ready

The news from Lakeland today is that Joel Zumaya and Jeremy Bonderman may not be ready by Opening Day. The Zumaya news isn’t at all surprising. The Bonderman news isn’t especially surprising, but a little concerning as he looks to regain velocity. But that’s not all…

There is of course the Nate Robertson thumb injury which thankfully doesn’t sound too serious. Still, it’s not a lock that he’ll make his next scheduled turn.

And option Rick Porcello hasn’t been quite as dazzling since the finger injury. He’s struggled somewhat with his control against the Yankees on Saturday. Tonight he walked 3 and allowed 3 hits in 2.1 innings against Tampa.

This spring has seen a lot of ups and downs from the various members of the rotation. Verlander was working on stuff and all over the place before finding his groove. Robertson was washed up and done before turning in back to back nice outings before the thumb injury. Porcello was the best pitcher in camp before his finger injury. Zach Miner was relegated to the bullpen before he seemed to figure things out. Who knows what will happen over the next week. Maybe Dontrelle Willis and his new leg kick will give us reason for hope.


  1. Dave T.

    March 27, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Zach Miner has to still be in the hunt for the 5th spot the .01% chance Leyland gave him is looking pretty good right now. How about Eddie Bonine, he has been throwing strikes. DW needs to have another 2 good outings before he even sniffs the 5th spot. Robertson’s injury could not have come at a worse time for him and his chances.
    I think as long as Bonderman is healthy and has no pain he breaks camp as a starter, the velocity will just have to work itself back.
    I honestly don’t think they want to take Porcello north, but will if they have to.

    Leyland was right when he said at the start of the camp (paraphrase) ‘we are either going to have too much pitching or not enough’

  2. Mr. X

    March 27, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    It probably doesn’t matter much who pitches. Everyone is pitching well. Good thing is that the long ball era is over. The lineups are rather weak in baseball this season. Last season, nobody in the American League even hit >40 HR’s or over .330. This season, every other team seems to be going after defensive players over Homerun hitters. The Tigers probably improved their D the most out of any team. We’re going to see a crap load of low scoring games.

    We might even see a triple crown winner too. It won’t take much more than a .320 average, with 35 dingers, and 120 rbi’s to win it.

  3. Kevin in Austin (now Dallas)

    March 27, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Good observations Senor X.

    Is anyone out there concerned that JV has been unable to strike anyone out this spring?

  4. Andre in Chi

    March 27, 2009 at 4:08 pm


    True, but at least he’s not walking guys at the same rate as Willis was anymore, and his WHIP has declined significantly in recent starts. I think as the endurance goes up, we’ll see the velocity go up (I’m assuming its low) and the Ks will hopefully follow.

    Mr. X,

    I’m not sure it won’t matter who pitches…but at the same time, I would say that on the whole, the basement for the staff doesn’t seem as deep as it was last season, even if we’ve yet to see many of them reach very high levels of performance. I’m hoping that Robertson’s setback isn’t going to take all the wind out of his sails, as it was a welcome sight to see a change for the better.

    On two separate notes:

    1) I think its interesting how quickly the Porcello talk died down once he raised some question marks of his own. Note, I’m not gloating and I do think he’ll be lights out when properly seasoned.

    2) I was a very “vocal” critic of the Joyce/Jackson deal, and I must say that after this spring training, I’m very glad they made a move to help with rotation depth.

  5. Chris Y.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    They had him hitting 97 today.

  6. Dave BW

    March 27, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    Your Mike Maroth Update: MLBtraderumors says he was released by the Blue Jays. He’s running out of teams.

  7. Mark L

    March 28, 2009 at 4:07 am

    Bring back Maroth? He had more success with us than anyone else.

    Who’s you’re favorite for Triple Crown? Cabrera? Hamilton? Morneau?
    How about NL? Pujols? Utley? Berkman?

    It used to happen a lot, now it may be a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

  8. Dave BW

    March 28, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Unfortunately, Mike’s injury seems to have destroyed his already thin margin for error.

    I don’t think anyone in the AL has a decent shot at the Triple Crown, but Cabrera has better odds than anyone else. He’s the only AL player with a proven ability to both hit over 35 home runs and over .330.

    In the NL, Pujols has a good chance of winning it every year.

  9. Chris Y.

    March 28, 2009 at 8:16 am

    Dave T. brings up a good point. Bonine is certainly in the next tier of starter depth, and he has pitched very well this spring. If things don’t shore up very soon, don’t you have to consider him? Too bad he has only pitched a couple innings at a time and isn’t stretched out.