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.