The Tigers got pounded by the Indians today 9-2 and settled for a split of their four game series with the Indians. Now 11 games behind the high flying White Sox, splitting series is not good enough if they have any plans of a huge comeback this year. I can't get myself to give up on the season on June 9 but, realistically, it's not looking good especially with Bonderman out for the season.
They did get some good starting pitching in this series before Dontrelle Willis blew up today. Coming into the game, the starters had a 3.92 ERA in 24 games. Justin Verlander (3.00 ERA in his last 5 starts), Kenny Rogers (2.14 ERA in 3 starts) and Armando Galarraga (3.74 for the season) all pitched well. Willis was a disaster today allowing 5 walks and 8 runs in 1 2/3 innings.
Willis is a mess and really shouldn't be starting games in the majors right now. I'm not sure what they'll do with him. I imagine they'll give him some more opportunities to start but how many chances can they give to a pitcher who can't find the plate at all? He wouldn't be of any use in the bullpen either. He's signed through 2010 so they aren't going to just release him and, at his young age (26) and with his past success, they shouldn't. The ideal situation would be for him to agree to work out his control issues in the minors.
Then there is the problem of who would replace him if he is removed from the rotation. They don't have any great options in either the majors or minors. Zach Miner is a possibility but the Tigers like him better as a reliever. Casey Fossum might be a better bet. Virgil Vasquez, seen as a possible injury replacement call-up at the beginning of the year, is not having a good year for Toledo. Chris Lambert is doing the best of the current Mud Hen starters.