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<< Sports >>

AmericaJR.com Sports Column

Wednesday, 18 April, 2007 11:21 PM

Tigers starting pitching undone by bullpen collapses, weak offense

by Andrew Poloni
poloni@americajr.com

The Tigers wrapped up a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals with a 4-3 extra-innings loss Wednesday despite great pitching from Jeremy Bonderman -- which seems to be a trend so far this season.

Detroit has already had a number of good starts go to waste due to poor production from its offense or poor pitching from its bullpen.

Bonderman has pitched four games already for the Tigers and has yet to get a decision. His worst start was on opening day when he gave up three runs, and the game was blown by the Detroit’s relievers.

He went nine innings last Friday against the Blue Jays and got a no decision after the Tigers lost 2-1 in extra innings.

With the Tigers supposedly vaunted offense, Bonderman should be getting more run support. Also, the starters should be able to trust the bullpen when they go to the dugout with a lead.

Nate Robertson and Justin Verlander are on record for giving six quality starts but combine for only three wins. Both have tremendous earned runs averages under 2.0.

Robertson had trouble all last season getting runs from his teammates, and the fact that this trend is carrying over to this season should be alarming.

Closer Todd Jones had been steady until he blew a save opportunity Wednesday, and Joel Zumaya has also pitched well in relief. The problem is though, the Tigers middle relievers and set-up man Fernando Rodney can hardly be trusted with the game on the line.

Reliever Wilfredo Ledezma blew starter Mike Maroth’s lead in Tuesday’s game after he was taken out. The Tigers came back to win, but Maroth was not credited with a decision for his performance.

It’s also time for the Tigers free agent acquisition Gary Sheffield to contribute to Detroit’s offensive production. His batting average currently sits at a miserable .132.

If the Tigers want to maintain their division lead and return the playoffs this season, they are going to need to start helping out their starting pitchers. They can’t afford to keep giving games away in baseball’s toughest division.

 

Return to our MLB Baseball section.

Click here to view the 2007 Detroit Tigers Schedule with Results.

Return to our Sports index section.

 

 

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