Saturday, March 17, 2007

Bonderman Named Opening Day Starter

According to Jason Beck, Jim Leyland has named Jeremy Bonderman his opening day starter. Bonderman will be followed by Kenny Rogers, Justin Verlander, Nate Robertson and Mike Maroth. I don't place a lot of importance on rotation order but this setup does seem to make sense. As Bill Ferris points out, this rotation mixes pitchers according to handedness and style. In particular, the finesse lefty Rogers is being placed between the two hard throwing right-handers. Mike Maroth, the other soft tossing southpaw, comes right before the first right-hander.

I also believe that part of this move is psychological. Leyland used Bonderman as the number four pitcher all throughout the post-season last year even after he pitched two strong games and outpitched Verlander and Robertson in the playoffs. I think having him pitch the opener might be either a confidence builder or a message that he expects him to pitch like a veteran ace. Of course, Bonderman was the best pitcher on the team statistically last year but received less offensive and fielding support than either Rogers or Verlander. So, I think the opening day nod is deserving.

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