Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Tigers bullpen is just fine...No, it isn't...Yes, it is....No....Yes...

Rodney missing the opener? Cruceta still AWOL? Jones with a 24 something spring ERA, and having "arm strength" issues? Zumaya still weeks away from throwing in anger? Grilli feels the need to be the "voice of reason?" Miner being considered as a late game set up man?

Even though it's 2 weeks plus till opening day, you can now consider me OFFICIALLY CONCERNED about the Tigers' bullpen.

I know the Tigers have a powerful lineup capable of scoring 1000 runs. That's great, yet the bullpen, as it now stands, has me thinking it'll give up a 1001 runs. I know my thinking isn't rational, and many of the bullpen issues will suitably sort themselves out as the season progresses. But I have a sinking feeling in my beer filled gut we'll be spending way too many 9th innings cursing out the bullpen for it's inability to protect big leads.

I can imagine it now:

Hey, it's 7-3 going into the 8th inning? I need to make trip to the fridge and get myself a cold one to get through the 9th. //grab beer and pork rinds, sit back down// HUH? It's 7-7? What the? CURSES! //shakes fist at no one in particular// Damn you (name any Tigers reliever), DAMN YOU TO HELL!

Or something like that...

When it comes to the Tigers' pen, I'm fighting a battle within, a battle between the rational and irrational parts of myself.

The rational me says: Al, don't be a ninny. Jones will be fine, and will have a typical Jones season, 35+ saves with a half dozen blown ones.

The irrational me says: Todd Jones is the anti-Christ, and this is the season major league batters finally figure his 85 MPH throwing, 39 year old ass out! AHHHHH!

Rational: Zach Miner is a very capable pitcher, who has shown he can start, pitch in long or short relief, and do so capably.

Irrational: Miner pitching in the 8th inning of a must win 3-2 game against the Tribe? We're DOOOOOMED!

Rational: After carefully rehabbing his shoulder, Joel Zumaya will come back in July, and still be an effective late game reliever.

Irrational: Come on, we all know Zoom has a million dollar arm, and a 10 cent head. In June, Zumaya will be be riding a dirt bike, while playing Guitar Hero, in midst of moving his family, hear his elbow pop, and undergo Tommy John surgery in July. He's another Fydrich! FYDRICH, I TELL YOU!

Rational: Jason Grilli is just fine when used in long relief, or as a mop up man. He was misused last season due to all the injuries on the pitching staff.


Rational: Denny Bautista has been a pleasant spring surprise, and is living up to the faith the Tigers showed in trading for him in the first place. I expect him to make the regular season roster.

Irrational: It's SPRING TRAINING! Even I could get some of these clowns out! Bautista is facing never-gonna-be's and used-to-be's. His career major league ERA is almost 7! He's gonna get lit up in April! LIT UP!

Rational: Byrdak and Seay were excellent as the LOOGY's in 2007. I see no reason why they won't continue to be extremely effective against left handed hitters in 2008.

Irrational: 2007 was a MIRAGE! They are career minor leaguers who found lightening in a bottle for 1 season! Won't happen again! No way, no how!

I'm quite aware it's much too early to get worked up over scenarios that probably won't happen. Even if a couple of those scenarios do actually happen, it wouldn't be enough to derail the Tigers. Still, the bad thoughts remain. They're tucked away by my rational self, but they're in there, percolating.

Admit it. You can tell me. I bet you all are having the same internal battles too. Am I right?


  1. It's enough to make me long for the days of Aurelio Lopez and Guillermo "Don't Call Me Willie" Hernandez. And for the days of Fat Mickey "I'm Pitching 376 Innings and Striking Out 308 This Year" Lolich. Color me old, but these modern day pitchers are wusses. Throw a complete game once in a while to earn your $8 mil. Tell me why you need 13 pitchers on your roster. I'd rather have 15 position players/DH's and 10 pitchers. But, I'm what they call an Orthodox Baseball Fan as opposed to Conservative or Reform.

  2. We were spoiled by Guillermo and Senior Smoke, my man. They were a damn good late game combo, and in 1984, almost unhittable. For that matter, they each could pitch 2-3 innings regularly, unlike the pampered relievers of today. Willie rarely had a 1 inning save. Could you picture Todd Jones pitching a 3 inning save? I shudder at just the thought...Seriously.

    You're Orthodox fandom? I never would have known! I worship at the non-denominational church of baseball, myself.

  3. I would picture Todd Jones attempting a three-inning save...but it would probably give me heart palpitations, and I have too much work to do to spend time in the hospital!