Weekly Recap: Tigers again squander chances to gain ground in playoff chase

BIG QUESTIONS IN THE ROTATION

Photo Credit: Pat Cameron/Flickr
Photo Credit: Pat Cameron/Flickr

The Tigers rotation really got knocked around last week, with the exception of Justin Verlander (7 shutout innings) and Daniel Norris (3 ER in 11.1 IP over two starts).

A combination of Matt BoydMichael FulmerMike Pelfrey and Aníbal Sánchez combined logged an eye sore over 15.50. Boyd gets a free pass because it was his first real bad outing since being slotted as a regular in the rotation. The same can be said for Fulmer, the leading candidate for American League Rookie of the Year. But with regards to Pelfrey and Sánchez, it puts Ausmus and his staff in a real pickle for that No. 5 spot for the final two weeks. Couple that with the return of Jordan Zimmermann being up in the air makes it even more difficult.

With little time remaining, there is almost no margin for error when it comes to starting pitching. Ausmus may have to call upon one of the younger arms in the bullpen to make spot starts, simply because the confidence in the three veterans to turn in a quality outing has plummeted deep into the ground. One viable option could be Buck Farmer, who pitched 4.1 innings of relief last Tuesday after Zimmermann could only go one inning before allowing six ER. Farmer has shown pockets of vast improvement this year in his minimal appearances up and down with the big league club.

As taxed as they have been due to the lack of length given from some starters, the bullpen really held their own last week and shut down opposing offenses, albeit after the damage was done. Here are just some of the notable performances:

  • Francisco Rodríguez: 3.1 IP, 2 BB, K
  • Blaine Hardy: 3.1 IP, 2 H, BB, K
  • Kyle Ryan: 2 IP, H, BB, 3 K
  • Mark Lowe: 1.2 IP, H, K
  • Shane Greene: 4.2 IP, 2 H, ER, 2 BB, 6 K
  • Alex Wilson: 4 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 4 K
  • Bruce Rondón: 3.1 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, 3 K
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This seven-man crew combined to register a 1.21 ERA. Granted, the bullpen is a little more crowded with September call-ups invading the clubhouses but credit to Ausmus for picking and choosing the right guys in the right spots and managing them well.

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