Willis will start Sunday

The Tigers have made a decision, at least for the time being, to stick with Dontrelle Willis in the starting rotation. Jeremy Bonderman will head to the bullpen…for now. Keeping Willis in the rotation is probably the right decision if Bonderman is the other option. Of course I kind of agree with Lee that perhaps that pool should include Zach Miner. That doesn’t seem like an option the team is exploring at the moment though, so what can we take from this decision?

First of all, Bonderman isn’t ready. I don’t think there is a lot of questioning of this point. I don’t see him being able to rebuild his arm strength pitching in sporadic low leverage situations in the pen. My guess is he gets optioned to Toledo (assuming he clears waivers and agrees to it) to work in the rotation and hopefully get his velocity back. He’s in the pen now because they need another arm in the pen, and likely want to bring Ryan Perry back. But Perry has to stay on optional assignment for a minimum of 10 days.

As for Willis, it appears he is pitching just well enough (not necessarily good) to hang in the rotation. This will be another test. I guess the goodish news is that we get to see Dontrelle hit for the first time.

13 thoughts on “Willis will start Sunday”

  1. At least we won’t get to see Bondo hit!
    His hitting was horrendous!!

    And I’m also excited to see Porcello hit (first time since High School…?)

  2. Just a thought, but maybe DTrain’s anxiety issues might have something to do with him not having to bat. He only has pitching on his mind, and has obsessed on it. Maybe the hitting aspect of the game kept him on a more even keel.
    Maybe just hopeful thinking, since he started to sink while he was still with the Marlins.
    But if he does pitch better when he’s hitting, then we should go with the Pineapple catching for him and being DH’d for, letting DTrain hit. There are over 80 pitchers with over 10 AB’s this year, and over 50 of them are hitting better than Dane. Double switch with Laird if there is a pitching change.

    If Dane is the reason that Verlander is pitching great, then by all means keep him on the roster, otherwise bring up someone, anyone that can catch. Do you think Mendoza (line) could catch?

    1. I think Verlander pitching great has more to do with Verlander than Sardhina. I suspect Pineapple is on the team because Leyland/Dombrowski/whoever have gone overboard with the “defense” mindset. His great strength simply does not compensate for his greater weakness. As a temporary stopgap reserve catcher I have no problem, but I can’t help wondering if he isn’t here for the long haul.

    2. I was thinking the same thing with Willis and Sardhina. If Willis can still hit, by all means, let him hit. We could use another bat in the line-up.

  3. I expect very little from Sardinha at the plate. He needs to be able to bunt. A hit one times in ten is a nice surprise. I expect a lot from him behind the plate. He hasn’t disappointed at all.

    Neal, the DH can only bat for the pitcher.

  4. If Bonderman isn’t ready, send him to Toledo now. Complete waste of a roster spot if he isn’t going to pitch while we wait out Perry’s 10-day mandatory exile. If there are no other reaonable pitcher options, even calling up a reserve position player in the meantime would be more useful.

    1. I’d like to see Bonderman get one or two chances in the pen to see how he does. There is no reason why we need to push him back into the starting rotation this season, especially if his velocity isn’t coming back anytime soon. If he can get his command back, then he could be a very effective reliever from here on out. We need a guy in the pen who can come into the game and just throw strikes. I don’t care if it’s Bonderman or somebody else. We can get by with Willis or Minor as our 5th starter.

  5. Why can’t they do one more round with 6 starters? If it’s a tough decision, then accumulate more information. With Bonderman in particular, that was his first big-league game in 12 months.

  6. As for Ryan Perry, obviously a big roster decision needs to made to get him back on the team. IMO, it’s a rather smart move to let this play out a little more before having to make that decision.

    It kind of boils down to how the Tigers plan to use Robertson, Willis, and Bonderman. We’re probably not going to drop anyone. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some get traded. Maybe even somebody like Rodney since he has some value and will be a FA at the end of the year.

    1. I’m not a big Rodney fan. As far as I am concerned he is another Todd Jones with a little more pop on is fastball, but a lot less control – in other words an accident waiting to happen. However, who would take over the closer duties – Perry is too young and I can’t see them putting him in that position now, and as far as Zumaya and Lyon, the next two likely contenders, I don’t have much faith in them either.

      With Bonderman now in the pen, the argument could be made that the staff now consists of eight (!) starters. Somebody has to go. Somebody(s) will go.

      1. I can’t remember the Tigers ever having a healthier pitcher staff. Maybe someone gets hurt again and they won’t have to drop anybody.

        Is this the best pitching staff we’ve seen in Detroit for the past 20 years? I think maybe.

  7. Here’s an interesting stat-
    Detroit’s bullpen is tied for 1st in having the fewest amount of loses with only 6.
    Washington’s bullpen has the most loses with 19.

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