The Tigers played two games today - one at Lakeland versus the Yankees and the other at Port St. Lucie versus the Mets. They beat the Yankees 6-2 behind the unlikely trio of Dontrelle Willis, Jeremy Bonderman and Nate Robertson. Willis, who has been surprisingly decent this spring, pitched three innings allowing just one run and most importantly just one walk. Jeremy Bonderman followed with three innings one run ball with no walks. Nate Robertson then pitched two perfect innings including three strikeouts.
It was a good day for three pitchers battling for spots in the rotation. I believe that Bonderman and Robertson are still the favorites to win the four and five spots but Willis is keeping himself in the pitcher with three pretty good outings so far. The question remains how well he will respond to real games. He looked OK at times last spring as well but has had two miserable seasons since joining the Tigers.
The Tigers lost to the Mets 9-1 with all nine runs coming in the seventh inning. Prior to that, Max Scherzer had his first good start of the spring pitching four shutout innings and striking out five. There was no reason to be concerned about Scherzer's first two starts but it was still nice to see a positive outing from him today. Last year's second round draft pick Andy Oliver was also sharp today throwing two shutout innings.
The bad news was that Ryan Perry, who has been touted as a possible set up man, was shelled for seven runs (five earned) in two thirds of an inning. Zach Miner continued to pitch poorly today allowing two runs in an inning and a third.