Friday, July 20, 2007

Bullpen reversal leading Tigers past Tribe

The Indians bats bailed them out of another iffy outing by the pitching staff last night. C.C. Sabathia pitched what must have been the ugliest “quality start” by anyone anywhere this season, having given up four runs, but only three earned, in six innings. The big man gave up nine hits and a walk. More importantly, if just half of Texas’ screaming outs had gone for hits, C.C. would be in the midst of a three-game losing streak.

Meanwhile, the Tigers had already finished a three-game sweep of the Twins. All one-run wins, and all in Minnesota.

So, as the Tribe goes bumping along at 8-7 this month, the Tigers have taken 11 of 14, picking up 3 ½ games on the Tribe and supplanting them atop the Central Division.

The firming of the Tiger bullpen, shaky this year due to the injuries of Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney, has contributed mightily to the recent Tiger surge.

Since July 1, the Tigers pen has pitched to the tune of a 1.99 ERA. In 14 games so far this month, Tiger relievers have put up zeros in 10 games. In contrast, the Tribe pen’s ERA is nearly twice that of the Tigers, at 3.95. Only three times in 15 games has the bullpen finished up unscathed. Four if you count the game where Raffy Betancourt gave up Paul Byrd’s run in a 1-zip loss to Toronto.

The news here is not so much that the Tribe relief corps is in need of repair. We know that. Instead, my point is that our division rivals from Motown seem no longer to be suffering from the same affliction.

Maybe it’s just a hot few weeks. Or maybe members of the Tiger pen have learned their roles and have begun to step up in the absence of two of their bullpen rocks from last year.

Whatever the case, the Tigers expect to be getting both Rodney and Zumaya back in August, while the Tribe has only Aaron Fultz’s return to look forward too. And even that’s not looking too promising right now.

With both teams in the market for bullpen help in the next two weeks, that’s a race the Tribe must win if it hopes to prevail in the bigger contest – for the Central Division crown.

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1 comment:

moose said...

agree with comments - although I dont think the tigers are looking for that much bullpen help - cleveland needs more help than detroit

indians should pick up who the tigers drop when they bring back rodney and zumala !!!

yankees and tigers getting bombed tonight - how about that