Junkballing: Red Sox recap, Miner’s elbow

My stream of consciousness on the Tigers most recent two games against the Red Sox, Zach Miner’s injury, and what ever else comes to mind.

Beating the Red Sox

Honestly, I’m thrilled with the series. Friday night was certainly a clunker and Saturday was shaping up to be one. From where they were in the first half of that second game to where they ended the series is reason to be excited.

Many of the Tigers earlier comebacks were against struggling pitchers or weak bullpens. That Detroit came back against the Red Sox and Jon Lester, and later out lasted the Boston bullpen is quite the endorsement for all those things like grit and never-say-die, and of course talent.

  • Dontrelle Willis might have been rusty. He might have reverted to his 2008-9 ways. He was all over the place, and not the least bit comfortable on the mound. It’s one thing to have rust, it’s another to walk 7 and not last through the 4th inning. I’m hoping for the best but have much skepticism, even given his success this year.
  • The Brennan Boesch phenomenon is something to behold. When I watch games now there are 3 Tigers who I don’t leave the room for when they are up. Boesch has joined Miguel Cabrera and Austin Jackson in that regard. That he is hitting lefties and breaking pitches is probably the most surprising aspect of his success. A Run Boesched In (Coleman term that is awesome) is around the corner.
  • Eddie Bonine gave up a two run homer. His first runs allowed since April 11th. A remarkable streak and one that has been instrumental in at least 2 wins. He’s definitely less heralded than other members of the bullpen but the ability to suck up 3 innings at a crack is huge for an overworked pen.
  • There are days like Sunday when the pitching match-up is heavily tilted one way, and Jim Leyland doesn’t put out the “A” lineup and there is a sense of hopelessness. Yet here come the Tigers, chipping away at Lackey to build a comfortable lead, and Galarraga finding his way through 5.2 innings of 1 run ball.
  • I love watching players make their debuts, so it’s been a good year to be a Tigers fan. Worth “blistered” a shot to shallow second base resulting in his first hit and RBI. The coolest part might have been Miguel Cabrera recognizing both feats right away and tracking down the game ball for him.
  • The bullpen isn’t out of the woods yet, even with Jeremy Bonderman chipping in an inning of help. Valverde has been used in consecutive days, as has Ryan Perry. But Phil Coke, Fu-Te Ni, and Joel Zumaya should all be ready tomorrow.

Zach Miner

Zach Miner has been battling an injury for the last 2 months now. He’s been rehabbing and an MRI just revealed a torn UCL. He’s going for a second opinion in terms of treatment options (surgery versus rehab and a strengthening program).

I don’t know if the UCL just recently tore or not. But if it had been torn all along this is certainly disappointing. Regardless it is unlikely that Miner will be able to contribute this year.

Miner is the type of pitcher a team with a struggling rotation could use. Someone who can make spot starts or eat 3-4 innings. Yet the Tigers are getting by without him, and will need to continue to do so. It also opens up a potential role for an Enrique Gonzalez or another minor league free agent should injuries or ineffectiveness creep in at some point on the staff.

10 Comments

  1. scotsw

    May 16, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Free agent? Aren’t Schlereth and Sborz looking like big-leaguers down on the farm?

  2. Vince in MN

    May 16, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    Thomas and Bonine seem to be sharing the role previously reserved for Miner and I think with better results.

  3. Gordon Kraft

    May 17, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Personally I enjoy watching the the ‘mash and bash boys’ bat at the 4 and 5 hole, and with a very productive 1 through 3 hitters, Miguel and Boesch should continue to get opportunties to drive in runs. They both compliment each other very well with their mega power potential. If Carlos can come back and contribute this should make for a really good 1-6 batting lineup, assuming that Carlos bats behind Boesch in the 6 hole.

    • Dr. Detroit

      May 18, 2010 at 11:00 am

      This will probably never happen, but I do like the concept of going alternating lefty/righty if it makes sense in your lineup simply for the reason that in later innings opposing teams cannot bring in their lefty specialist for too long and possibly be made to burn thru more arms than they would want to. Also, and this is playing with fire because the old adage, “if it ain’t broke…” applies here, but I would like to see Miggy in the 3 hole now or in the near future. With that, the line-up could be:
      1. Jackson
      2. Damon
      3. Miggy
      4. Boesch
      5. Mags
      6. Guillen
      7. Inge
      …and then the usual assortment of B.O.O.Bs rounding it out. Not going to happen but objectively speaking it’s nice to have that option.

  4. Dr. Detroit

    May 17, 2010 at 10:49 am

    “The coolest part might have been Miguel Cabrera recognizing both feats right away and tracking down the game ball for him.”

    I noticed that too in the highlights, Bill. A good sign that our head masher in residence is becoming a leader in the dug-out.

    • Shane Trapped in Toledo

      May 17, 2010 at 11:22 am

      My favorite Miquel moment this year was when he was on second base and Boesch (or was it Raburn?) was on first and the opposing pitcher threw a ball in the dirt that got away from the catcher. Miquel advanced to third, while Boesch stayed at first. Miquel, very calmly shouted across the diamond to get Boesch’s attention and when he did said something to the effect of “you gotta run on that, let’s go, we need runs!” It was not mean spirited or showing him up in any way, just a veteran helping a rookie along during a teachable moment. Anybody else notice this?

      • ouchudied

        May 17, 2010 at 12:23 pm

        Who is Miquel?

  5. KW

    May 17, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    My favorite Miguel moment was Alex Avila’s first game. I was sitting right next to the Tigers dugout and when Alex got his first hit, Miguel got on the dugout steps, faced the press box/office area (where I’m assuming Alex’s dad was sitting), and jumped up and down with his fists in the air. It was a great scene.

  6. Dr Pullen

    May 17, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    The surgery for ulnar collateral ligament tears so consistently leads to good outcomes, and rehab without surgery seldom leads to good enough outcomes, that you can expect Miner will go to surgery. See this article by an interested family physician on Tommy John surgery http://drpullen.com/2010/05/17.....t-a-story/

  7. JAYRC

    May 18, 2010 at 2:12 am

    Sad to hear that now Miner (like Seay) is most likely done for the season.
    HOWEVER, I welcome Weinhardt and Schlereth to take their place if need be!
    The tigers should also look at Kelly Johnson from Arizona if Guillen doesn’t last at 2B.