Sunday, September 09, 2007

Bonderman's Elbow Hurting.

I did not see todays game but they lost by a touchdown 14-7. I already talked about Curtis Granderson's 20 20 20 and nothing much else good happened in the game so I'll give no re-cap. The big news of the day was that Jeremy Bonderman admitted after the game that his elbow has been hurting for a while:
He admitted afterward that he is feeling a “sharp pain” on the outside of his elbow, and manager Jim Leyland said Bonderman would probably be shut down indefinitely.

“I’m done for awhile,” Bonderman said. “I know that.”
There was talk of an elbow problem after his previous start. He admitted there was a little soreness but he said he was OK and Jim Leyland said he was OK so he pitched again today and got shelled for 7 runs in 1 1/3 innings. He is now scheduled to get an MRI and there is a good chance he'll miss the rest of the season.

Looking at the difference between his first 18 games and the last 10 games illustrated in the table below, it seems obvious that something was not right with Bonderman in recent starts. The table shows that his ERA went from 3.53 in his first 18 games to 8.40 in his last 10 games. Two of the more striking numbers in the table are his decrease in strikeouts per 9 innings (8.2 to 5.9) and increase in walks per 9 innings (1.9 to 3.8). These are two stats on which he has almost always excelled even during his rough stretches in previous years.

Table 1: Jeremy Bonderman's Splits









4/2 – 7/19


119 2/3






7/20 – 9/9


54 2/3






Many speculated that it was all mental but that seemed a bit far fetched to me and now we are finding out that he has been experiencing pain for some time. While he had not lost much if any velocity in most starts, his command in the past 10 starts had been horrible. Billfer questions whether the Tigers management handled the situation as well as they could and I have some of the same questions. Obviously, Bonderman is to blame for not admitting to the problem earlier. However, shouldn't his horrible lack of command been a signal that something was wrong? And he did say that he had some soreness after his last start so why was he not checked out before today's start?

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