Forget The Velocity, Where Was Bonderman's Slider?
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.
- 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