Sunday, May 30, 2010

Willis Put Up A Good Fight, But Couldn't Overcome "The Thing"

Dontrelle Willis put up a good fight against "The Thing" or "Steve Blass Disease" or whatever else you want to call it, but he just couldn't win.

Doesn't seem like anybody can, that it's become a fact of baseball life that is fatal to the pitching career of those it inflicts.

And it is sad. Pitcher overcome difficult injuries all the time. They bounced back from awful seasons to flourish again.

Not this. It's baseball's mysterious and haunting exception.

A pitcher who is one of the best of the world, which definitely fit Willis for the first years of his career, can suddenly and alarmingly lose command of the baseball - for no apparent reason.

It happened to Blass, a World Series hero for the Pirates - his career gone not long after because he couldn't throw the ball over the plate. It happened to Kevin Saucier, the former Tiger reliever - Hot Sauce. It happened to Rick Ankiel, a tremendous prospct. Now it has happened to Willis.

The Tigers didn't have any choice. Willis' starts this season, even when they were OK in their totality, were maddening to observe. They did him a favor by releasing him before he fell completely over the brink. But it doesn't make it any easier to observe - or understand.

Time for Max Scherzer to realize his enormous potential. He pitched exceptionally well in his two starts at Toledo.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hate to say .. but told you Fred and Pat.

Odds were too great.

7:20 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

I must say that one can only be impressed - or frustrated - with the Tigers patience with Willis.

This whole experience has been like watching your dog run away when you live on the flat dessert planes - you keep hoping he will come back - and everyonce in a while you think he will.

Now we are a pitcher shy of a 5 man rotation, a catcher and infielder shy - and a whole bunch of left fielders. There has to be a multi player trade looming with somebody - and you have to trade value to get value.

A nervous time for Tiger fans.

9:12 PM 
Anonymous Michael C said...

How are we a pitcher shy of a 5 man rotation now? Verlander, Porcello, Scherzer, Bonderman, Galarraga, and potentially Bonine, Coke, Figaro, and other guys on the minors. Pretty much everyone on that list gives us a better chance to win night in and night out than Willis did.

8:36 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm nervous, Fred and Pat, about defense and hitting.

After no. 5-6, you have Raburn, Everett, Sizemore, Laird, Inge, Avila, (Santiago) that can't hit with men in position. And rookies Jackson and Boesch will fade when opposing team pitching staffs figure out weaknesses.

I was concerned about starting pitching, but don't think that is going to be a big problem. I'll take our relievers any day.

12:51 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I didn't think he'd make it and wrote it several times. Believe Red felt same way.

3:07 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
One thing I don't see is this coming back haunting the Tigers.

3:08 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Michael C,
What I'd like to see at siome point is Bonine get a shot in the rotation. Seems like he's earned it.

3:09 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Pitching and defense will have to carry Tigers. Their offense is going to be hot and cold all season.

3:10 PM 

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