Friday, March 13, 2009

Wild and crazy guys

Justin Verlander gave up three hits and four walks in a 50-pitch, two-inning outing on Wednesday. He said he pitched better than his stats. This is at least the second time (Dontrelle Willis) that a Tigers starter has uttered such a phrase. It is a relief because the stats are no good.

Entering today, Verlander's ERA was 5.79, which was edged by Edwin Jackson's 5.40 for best among Detroit's starters (not counting Armando Galarraga, who is on WBC tour). Sure, the numbers are based on a small sample and Verlander was working on new mechanics, but I'm getting a little worried.

Remarkably, the team's ERA is 4.28 despite giving up 54 walks (worst behind only Texas' 57). That's because the Tigers have 15 pitchers with ERAs of 3.00 or lower. Of that group, 10 have yet to allow an earned run. I guess that bodes well for the bullpen.

The pitching has kept my focus from the offense, which is putting up a .228/.316/.396 line this spring. Now, this really is unfair because Curtis Granderson, Magglio Ordonez, Miguel Cabrera and Carlos Guillen all are in the WBC. But it might not speak well of Detroit's depth. At least management is getting longer looks at younger players.

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