Eddie Bonine is your 5th starter

Flashback a week. The Tigers had a big lead in the division and they were surging. Nate Robertson had turned in two solid performances. Jarrod Washburn’s troubles were optimistically assigned to a sore knee that would hopefully be better with a little rest. Armando Galarraga’s struggles were tied to elbow inflammation and with a little rest there was reason to think he wouldn’t be awful. This would be great news to have potentially 6 starters down the stretch with a big lead and 3 key cogs to the rotation having worked more than they ever had and looking for rest. Oh well. It was a good thought at the time.

Robertson has since gone down with pelvic inflammation. Washburn’s knee isn’t better. Galarraga’s elbow isn’t better. And so what may have been 6 is now 3. Washburn will search for effectiveness in the rotation and Eddie Bonine has been promoted to 5th starter for the remainder of the season.

Now remainder of the season could be 1 start, the actual remainder of the season, or something in between. Jim Leyland has been known to make decrees before only to change his mind a week later – at least he isn’t stubborn in that regard. The duration of Bonine’s spot is probably equally contingent on Bonine’s effectiveness and the health of Robertson and Galarraga. Though I suspect that Galarraga returning to the rotation would be a stretch at this point.

Robertson’s problem flared up after his start against Cleveland and he had hoped to make it through 5 innings against the Blue Jays, but it didn’t work so well. Still, if he can get back quickly he could find a spot as a starter.

The bigger downside of all the shuffling has to do with not just the potential effectiveness or ineffectiveness of injured and replacement players, but the increased importance that Verlander/Jackson/Porcello starts take on down the stretch. Extra rest or skipped spots don’t look to be an option for any of the 3 over the last 3 weeks of the season. And with a potential playoff spot and additional innings coming for all 3 pitchers that has to be a concern. Then again, just add it to the list.


  1. Mith

    September 13, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    This could all be a big problem, but then again maybe not. If the 5.5 game lead blooms to 6-7 again by the time we get down to 10-12 games left, then there will some flexibility since it would be quite difficult to blow that lead.

    Then again, if the lead shrinks down to 3 or so by that point then we very well may burn out our Big 3 by the time we get to the postseason.

  2. RPS

    September 13, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    I just want to see someone that can give up three or four runs in six innings. If Bonine can do something relatively close to what he’s done in AAA over four starts, great. If not, stretch out, Zach.

  3. The Fume

    September 13, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    I don’t think this will be a big problem RE: resting the big 3. There are 20 games in 21 days, and I don’t think they were going to get much rest anyways (4 starts each, maybe 5 for Verlander), unless it is clinched early. That scenario is still possible. But yeah, it would have been nice to be able to skip a start for Porcello against Cleveland, either by having a bigger lead or six viable starters.

  4. Vince in MN

    September 14, 2009 at 2:21 am

    The 13 games left against Minnesota and Chicago will decide it. Aside from the games between DET, CHI and MN, the Twins have the easiest schedule with 6 games left vs. KC and 3 vs CLE.

  5. Chris

    September 14, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Hopefully the Twins will finally face Greinke. It’s amazing that they have avoided him all season due to typical Twins luck

  6. RPS

    September 14, 2009 at 11:48 am

    The more I think about it, the more sense it makes to bring in a pitcher to make these four starts. An impending free agent for a bad team that the team has no desire to re-sign should be available for the salary relief. A guy like Odalis Perez or Livan Hernandez. It seems like there are plenty of essentially free options out there that are better than Bonine.

    • Vince in MN

      September 14, 2009 at 1:12 pm

      I don’t thnk it matters so much. With a 16-man pitching staff, Leyland can afford to freely use the pen if Bonine (or Washburn for that matter) falters early. Lately he seems to be more willing to be Captain Hook. Whatever works to get the ball to Lyon and Rodney for the 8th and 9th should be the plan. With that many pitchers he can even designate a couple of ROOGYs as well as LOOGYs.

      • RPS

        September 14, 2009 at 3:52 pm

        True. Even so, it would be real hard to cobble together 7 bullpen innings in back-to-back games, more so if Nate, Armando, and Washburn are all unable to go. It’s not a game changer either way, but why not try to find a cheap, bad, major league starter?

  7. Adam

    September 14, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Haha. How about Dontrelle?

    • Mark in Chicago

      September 14, 2009 at 3:13 pm

      you are a sick, sick individual… 😉

    • Vince in MN

      September 14, 2009 at 3:13 pm

      LOOGY when you need an intentional walk.

      • Coleman

        September 14, 2009 at 3:55 pm

        What makes you think if he was trying to intentionally walk someone that he wouldn’t unintentionally throw strikes?

      • T Smith

        September 14, 2009 at 4:00 pm

        Or the next time Kevin Youklis comes to bat.

        • Coleman

          September 14, 2009 at 4:18 pm

          If we make it past NY in the playoffs we may play Boston. If we were looking ahead we would have signed Farnsworth before Aug 31, and thrown him out there in the middle of game 1 to face Youkilis…a dual suspension wouldn’t hurt us at all, because, hey, it’s Farnsworth. See, now that’s what you call strategery.

  8. Dave T.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Is the Dontrelle suggestion a complete joke…Is there any possible scenario where he gets called up?
    Can he even be called up?

  9. Coach Jim

    September 14, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    If we can clinch early, it’s a good idea. Especially with Magglio batting .500 in September. Look to clinch on the 23rd.