Friday, April 8, 2011
Bullpen problems surface as Tigers lose lead and game to O’s 9-5
It wasn’t exactly an implosion, but the bullpen definitely faltered Thursday night in Baltimore. Brad Thomas, took the loss without recording an out, as the Orioles broke a tie game open in a 5-run 7th inning, in which the Orioles sent 10 batters to the plate.
Brad Penny started for Detroit, and pitched better than in his first start against the Yankees in New York. Of course, better is a relative term, as he lowered his ERA on the season from 16.62 to 11.17 as he pitched 5.1 innings allowing just 4 earned runs.
Alex Avila continued his torrid streak as he homered for the 2nd consecutive game, and is now hitting .294 on the season, after a 1-10 start to the season. Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch both had 2 hits to contribute to the Tigers offense, that scored 5 runs and should have been enough for the win.
In Buster Olney’s blog today he notes that late in Spring Training, Manager Jim Leyland talked about his concerns with the middle of the Tigers ‘pen, and they sure came to the fore-front in last night’s loss. Detroit lost the lead on three separate occasions in last night’s game.
The good news for the Tigers, who stand at 2-4 on the season, is that they return to Comerica Park for the home opener this afternoon with a 3:05pm first-pitch, weather permitting, as rain is in the forecast for Comerica Park this afternoon.
More good news came about last night, and it will hopefully have a positive effect on the Tigers bullpen, as Joel Zumaya, who remains in Lakeland Florida as he rehabs his injured arm, has been given clearance to begin throwing again. It’s not known when Zumaya will return to Detroit and rejoin his teammates.
An interesting theory was bandied about on the internet this morning, as the MLBtraderumors.com is reporting that Russell Branyan who signed a minor-league deal with Arizona might be cut loose at some point, and one of the landing spots “could be” Detroit. You can read the story here.
I hope that the Tigers aren’t tempted to tinker with the lineup just because they are under .500 this early in the season. I think that the Tigers bats will be fine, and once the bullpen situation comes around, the Tigers will play the kind of ball we all expect.
In case you missed it, in the recap of Wednesday night’s game Tiger Tizzy pointed out that Alex Avila became the first Tiger catcher to drive in 5 runs in a single game, since Pudge Rodriguez accomplished the feat against the Philadelphia Phillies back in 2007.
I’m not saying Mario Impemba, the Tigers broadcaster reads Tiger Tizzy, but he mentioned that very fact during last nights Tigers broadcast.
As the Tigers host the Kansas City Royals for the opening series of the season at Comerica Park, Max Scherzer get the start, becoming the 5th different pitcher to start a home opener in Jim Leyland’s 6 years as Manager of the Tigers. Scherzer will be opposed today by the Royals Kyle Davies. In Game 2 of the series, a pair of lefties square off as Phil Coke goes against Bruce Chen, and in the 3rd and final game of the Royals series, Rick Porcello take to the mound against the Royals Luke Hochevar.