Sunday, May 17, 2009

Playing catch up

Some thoughts after several days on the road:

Dontrelle Willis pitched OK. Not good, not horrible. The Baseball Tonight crew, however, made it sound as though Willis tossed seven frames of shutout ball. It was unbelievable. Willis gave up 4 runs in 4.2 IP and allowed 10 baserunners (8 hits, 2 BBs). Someone on BT said the Tigers, with their offense, would happily take Willis giving up 4 runs a start. Perhaps . . . if it was over seven or eight innings. Heck, even six. Not 4.2. But he's worth giving another chance.

As soon as I declared to a friend, "The bloom is off the Ryan Raburn rose," the dude goes crazy with three hits, two homers (including a grand slam) and eight RBI. He homered in back-to-back games for the first time in limited career.

The last time the Tigers hit two grand slams in the same game, as Raburn and Brandon Inge did on Friday, was 1968. Not a bad year in Tiger lore.

Detroit's bullpen was a nightmare in Minnesota, costing the Tigers two wins. I'll forgive one because you expect bullpens to fail every once in a while. But blowing a 5-0 lead for Justin Verlander was sickening.

The Tigers' 14-10 loss last week in Minny was their first loss this year when scoring 8 or more runs. Detroit is 9-1 in such games. Interestingly, the Tigs are 1-6 when giving up 8 or more runs.

Edwin Jackson has been pretty much terrific. With Verlander and Jackson dealing the way they have been the past couple weeks, Detroit's top of the rotation is as good as any. Rick Porcello has been solid in his last several starts, too.

Jeremy Bonderman could return to the squad shortly. According to the Free Press, that means Armando Galarraga needs to get his game figured out quickly because Willis has an edge being the rotation's only lefty.

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