The Tigers are coming off an ugly three game sweep at the hands of the Red Sox which ended with Miguel Cabrera straining his hamstring and Dontrelle Willis experiencing another melt down where he gave up five runs on no hits in one inning. The good news is that Cabrera is OK. He will miss tonight's game but should be back in the line-up tomorrow. The top of the line-up looks awfully weak without him:
So, the top two have On Base Percentages of .302, .292 and the clean-up hitter has a .348 slugging average. Thomas has the best stats of the top four but a .742 OPS is not what you expect from your third hitter. Justin Verlander will need to pitch like an ace tonight.
In other news, Jeremy Bonderman will start the second game of the double header versus the White Sox on Monday. He admits that his velocity is still low (high 80s) and that he will have to rely on his slider and yes his change-up. What happens to the rotation after that likely depends on how Bonderman and Armando Galarraga pitch on Monday and how Dontrelle Willis does on Tuesday. Two of them will remain in the rotation and the other will go to the bullpen or perhaps the minors.
Marcus Thames will likely return on Sunday when the Tigers start a string of four games versus left-handed starters. Who will be sent down to the minors when Thames is added will probably depend as much on options as on performance. Eddie compiled the numbers and Billfer did the analysis. In short, we can expect one of Clete Thomas, Jeff Larish or Ryan Raburn to be removed from the 25 man roster. I'm guessing Raburn but I wouldn't put a lot of money on it given all the lefty starters next week.