While much of the excitement last week was revolved around the return of Jordan Zimmermann from his virtually two-month sideline stint, the expectations for him had to be severely diminished because of said sideline stint.
And that could not have been more evident Saturday night when he simply did not have it. Zimmermann was shelled for six ER in just an inning of work. He had no zip on his heater, no movement on it or any of his secondary pitches, and Orioles hitters were teeing off him from the get-go. It was reported on Sunday that Zimmermann’s spot would be skipped in the rotation this week and he would throw a simulated game on Wednesday to work on his velocity and get a feel for his pitches. He’s on record saying he feels healthy but his mechanics are out of whack. Detroit hopes he can figure them out sooner than later, because they are running out of time.
So in that Saturday game, Zimmermann and reliever Buck Farmer taking one for the team were charged for a combined ten ER. Those two alone helped drastically inflate the team ERA to 4.86 last week. Shane Greene continued to struggle and did not help his cause either, his three ER over just 0.1 IP on Wednesday resulted in Detroit surrendering the lead late and losing to the White Sox.
Outside of those three, everyone did a stand-up job.
Matt Boyd and Michael Fulmer turned in identical outings of seven innings and yielding two ER. Boyd unfortunately was credited with a loss because the Tigers offense was shut out, and Fulmer earned a ‘no decision’ because Baltimore tied the game after Fulmer departed. Justin Verlander racked up 18 strikeouts in 12 innings spanning two starts last week and continued to give his team valuable innings and chances to win games.
And in the bullpen, Bruce Rondón continues to be a pleasant surprise and has appeared, at least for now, to turn the corner and take the next step as a consistent big league reliever. Rondón pitched three scoreless innings last week and has allowed just two ER on five total hits going back to the beginning of August (13 IP), striking out 16 guys in the process. For Bruce to pitch this well in crucial and meaningful games, considering the struggles he had a year ago, is extremely encouraging for both Tigers staff and fans.