Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Forget The Velocity, Where Was Bonderman's Slider?

Note: I will updating this blog Monday through Friday by 10 a.m. every day starting this week.

After watching him pitch Monday night, I must admit to being amazed Jeremy Bonderman was that effective during his rehabilitation starts in the minor leagues. I heard nothing but how poorly Bonderman was actually throwing, yet didn’t realize the degree until Monday. Thought maybe it was an exaggeration because he did post respectable lines.
It’s not just that he is throwing his fastball only 88 mph to 90 mph that is alarming. It’s that he isn’t throwing his slider - period. The only breaking balls he threw Monday were in the high 70s - and just spun up there like bad high school curveballs.
Bonderman threw in the mid to high 90s before. His slider, which was as good as any in baseball, was in the high 80s. There has been a tremendous dropoff in his "stuff."
The Tigers were concerned about a fall in Bonderman’s velocity last season before he had surgery. It had dropped from in the 96 mph and 97 mph range in 2006 to 92 mph and 93 mph last year.
They had expected the surgery, which was to correct a circulation problem that had developed in his shoulder, would return his velocity to normal. Instead, it has had the opposite bearing.
To put it in perspective, Nate Robertson’s "stuff" was just as good Monday.
Combined, Bonderman, Robertson and Dontrelle Willis are being paid more than $23 million this season. And from the three, the Tigers don’t even seem to have a fifth starter.

Random Thoughts

- I have a feeling the Tigers are going to miss Ryan Perry sooner instead of later. Too much was made of his walks. He had more solid outings than bad ones. Tonight’s start could be a last chance for Willis. Not exactly a comforting thought against the White Sox in that ball park.

- Gutting out the Game 1 victory Monday afternoon was huge for the Tigers. Now, they only need one more victory to at least make a respectable showing in the series. Had they lost that game, this series could be on the verge of becoming a disaster.

- You’d think the Penguins would be embarrassed about getting routed Saturday. You’d think playing at home tonight would give them a big lift. You’d think that probably there will be a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals Friday night at Joe Louis Arena. Me, I’m going against conventional wisdom. I think the Red Wings took the life out of the Penguins in Game 5 - and the series ends tonight.

Column in Tuesday's Oakland Press about the Red Wings: http://tinyurl.com/kmfqjs



Anonymous Mike said...

Were you as shocked as I was that Perry was sent down? I was thinking it was between sending down / releasing Willis, Robertson, Lyon or chickening out on the big contract guys and temporarily sending down Miner or Galaragga. I didn't even consider Perry since he's probably been our 3rd best bullpen option this year after Zumaya and Rodney.

Sure, he's had control problems, but with how little hits he's been giving up his lack of control has rarely hurt the Tigers.

7:37 AM 
Blogger Larry Baker said...

Book, great commentary as usual & and happy to get M-F updates. Regarding Tigers: Thankfully there seems a bit more urgency in line-up moves this season, but keep Bonderman, Robertson, Willis all on the roster reminds me of a stock investor who stays with "sure thing" stocks as they drop lower and lower. These guys simply are not performing and are clogging the roster (essentially 3 mop-up pitchers). So now guys who actually have contributed (Perry?) are being farmed out. Maybe Dave D. should write a letter to the fans explaining this the way Pirate GM did!

8:13 AM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

I tell you book I am glad u brought p the Perry situation. With it I don't feel like the minority when I say with dropping Perry I feel we got an upgrade with Willis and Bonderman back. At least not yet.

I still think the tigers need a couple of peices. Bonderman wasn't good yesterday, but the Tigers to get 1 hit by Contreras who we normally put a show on was pretty pathetic. 1st and formost I think we need to get a bad. Second weather it be Clete or Josh Anderson I think we need to swap Curtis out of that lead off spot and move him down. I think he can be more productive. Just with the current state.

At the same time.. What about that 5th starter spot. I tell you the Tigers got a good/small window. If I were them I'd take stab at this and try to do something in october . Which iS why I think Dombrowski should talk to Mr. I and make the necessary moves.

Robertson and Dontrelle Willis were bad signings especially when they haven't earned anything yet.

9:04 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

That's the way I looked at it, too, about Perry. To me, he was a viable option in the bullpen. The guys you mentioned fall in the last resort category.

12:38 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Larry Baker,
"Clogging up the roster" is a good way of putting it. Carrying one or two of those guys is OK, but three? And sending Perry down?

12:39 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

There is little doubt the Tigers need a fifth starter and a little more punch offensively. Don't tbink it is going to come with what they have. They'll have to make a deal at some point.

12:40 PM 
Anonymous SteveJ said...

Hey Pat, love both your show and writing. I agree on the Perry thing. I also did not get why they did not use him in the 1st game if they were going to send him down. With 5 games in 4 days we need as many arms as possible. Could have saved Zumaya for the nightcap, although it did not end up making a difference.

1:02 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Glad to see that you'll now be posting Monday through Friday. Good stuff. Concerning the Tigers, this pitching situation with Willis, Bondo, and Nate makes me appreciate the Edwin Jackson trade even more. I hated it at first, but despite his poor choices for contract extensions (Bondo, Willis, Nate, Guillen, Sheff, etc.), I am glad that Dombrowski is smarter than I am and that we acquired a young, potential ace pitcher for an extra outfielder. I liked Joyce a lot, and there is no way I would have made that trade. Was I ever wrong....

Concerning Perry, I was downright appalled. I am thinking that tonight will be Dontrelle's last stand, and that if he blows up like we all expect, he will be released, and Perry will be back. You're right, though: Bondo was horrendous, and he didn't do a single thing last night to ease my concerns about the 5th slot in the rotation.


1:39 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

One really bad start (and it could happen tonight) and a club burns through bullpen depth in a hurry.

1:45 PM 
Anonymous Marty said...


If Bonderman's stuff comes back, then this will be a good thing for him, since it will force him to become a better pitcher instead of relying on his great stuff to get outs. Of course, I don't think it is likely that it will come back, as I don't understand why he doesn't have it now.


1:47 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

You know, they did give up a lot to get Jackson, although he's been "light's out" good. Joyce has done well in the Rays' system and when give the shot in the big leagues. He was clearly the best prospect of the young outfield-types the Tigers had in their system.

1:47 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat, the thing I pick up was the location. Some of the pitches Bonderman threw were there for the hitting. Perry could have been effective. Lyon should be pitching better than he is but him too has location problems. I wonder if Lyon will be used as trade bait if he starts pitching better. Sound like Mr.Knapp will be busy. Go Draft Go.

2:33 PM 

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