The Tigers wrapped up their third series of the season yesterday and for the third straight time, they lost the series. And it’s just in time for the Texas Rangers to come into town and they’re only 8-1 and the defending AL champs. Unfortunately, there’s not just one thing we can look at and say “that’s been the problem.” On Saturday they got a really nice start from Phil Coke and the Tigers only put one run on the board. Then on Sunday they get five runs and Rick Porcello got knocked around. Justin Verlander has, as expected, been the most consistent starter with Max Scherzer right behind although even though Scherzer is 2-0, his numbers aren’t all that great because of the rough start against the Yankees.
The pen has also had their rough outings. Throw in an injured Ryan Perry and Joel Zumaya and it makes for a much shorter pen then the Tigers were looking at coming into spring training. Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde have done their job, but you’re only going to see them if the rotation and the back end of the pen does what they’re supposed to do.
On the hitting side, Miguel Cabrera has done his job and Jhonny Peralta and Brennan Boesch have been nice surprises but Magglio Ordonez and Victor Martinez have yet to heat up. As expected, Austin Jackson has also come down to earth and he’s tied with Josh Willingham for the AL lead with 14 strikeouts.
Just looking ahead, this Rangers series is just what the Tigers don’t need. Fortunately they’ll have Verlander and Scherzer both throwing. Then they head out west to play the 4-5 Athletics and the 2-7 Mariners. Those west coast series can be tough but they’re also teams the Tigers should be able to hang with.
Joel Zumaya once again ran into a wall and his throwing program has been halted. Once again he felt some discomfort in his throwing elbow so he’ll sit for another couple of days. Also at the bottom of the Zumaya story is some talk about Benoit and whether he’ll see more then one inning of work. Yes, he’s had some injury concerns in the past but I also hate how bullpens are used these days. Let’s hope that if the Tigers need that big out in the seventh, we’ll see the best pitcher in there. It also looks like Ryan Perry will be back April 22. Gametime is 1:05 and I wish this game were next week because I would have gone down to the ballpark.