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Brandon Inge’s Absence: Detroit Tigers Need Someone to Step Up

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse after the Tigers lost Joel Zumaya to a serious elbow injury, valued third baseman Brandon Inge had his hand broken by a wild pitch.

However, the Tigers can’t just simply pout about the situation.  Instead, they need to show some confidence in their depth at third base, just as they are in their pitching staff.

The Tigers are in a rough patch, to say the least right now.

They just ended a seven game losing streak last night against the Toronto Blue Jays and are still unsure who is going to step up to fill the void left by Inge at third base.

According to published reports, Inge should be out for four to six weeks. That being said, the Tigers are in desperate need of someone who can provide some fielding expertise and batting proficiency.

Scott Sizemore has been given a chance to prove himself once again. Although Sizemore is naturally a second baseman, he has shown manager Jim Leyland he can also hold his own at third.

As far as batting goes, Sizemore needs to improve. He has a .198 batting average with one home run and eight RBI this season.

Left fielder Don Kelly has also been given a crack at the third base position as well. Kelly has demonstrated an aptitude for adapting to the position, but like Sizemore, he desperately needs to provide a better bat.

This season, Kelly has a .217 batting average with one home run and eight RBI—eerily similar to Sizemore.

The Toledo Mud Hens, the Tigers’ AAA affiliate, don’t have any natural third basemen on their roster either, putting the Tigers in an interesting predicament.

Detroiters know that when putting a player in a different position than he is accustomed to playing, you might just find a hidden gem in your club.

For example, look at the Detroit Lions. When they put Mike Furrey, who originally played the strong safety position, at wide receiver, he had the most receptions in the NFL that year.

The Tigers need to find their Mike Furrey, and fast.  The American League Central race is not waiting on any team to get its game together.


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Detroit Tigers Need Reliever Ryan Perry Now More Than Ever

The Detroit Tigers are in a tough predicament. They are one game behind the Minnesota Twins, one game ahead of the Chicago White Sox, and they have lost one of their best relievers in Joel Zumaya.

Zumaya fractured his right elbow throwing a 99 mph fastball against Minnesota’s Delmon Young. And just like that Zumaya was done for the season.

Zumaya had a history of injuries with the Tigers. In the past three seasons he has ruptured a tendon in his right hand and injured his right shoulder multiple times.

Zumaya’s injuries in the past few seasons have been disappointing. However, this season it is especially unfortunate considering how much he was contributing to the Tigers’ surprisingly stellar bullpen. Zumaya had an ERA of 2.58 with 11 holds and 34 strikeouts, but now the Tigers have to move on with out him.

It’s not the end of the world Tigers fans, but Detroit will need to rely on some young arms to carry the team to the post-season. One pitcher that could the club is particularly looking for some help from is Ryan Perry.

Although Perry is currently on the DL, he is expected to return to the active roster soon. He was put on the DL for bicep tendinitis in his right arm, but Jim Leyland said that it was more of a break Perry than recovery from an injury.

This is Perry’s second season with the Tigers, and since he has been in the bigs he’s accumulated an ERA of 4.32 with a remarkable 78 strikeouts.

Perry would bolster the Tiger bullpen and join fellow mid-relievers Fu-Te Ni, Phil Coke, Casey Fein, and Eddie Bonine.

With the AL Central race moving full-throttle past the first half of the year, the Tigers will need help from Ryan Perry and other young relievers more than ever to stay in the competition for a post-season birth.

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Detroit Tigers Reliever Joel Zumaya Injured, Who’s a Likely Replacement?

Detroit Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya suffered from what appeared to be a major elbow injury as he exited the game in the eighth inning.

Zumaya, who is known for his high-velocity pitches that frequent the 100 mph mark, said he heard a pop in his throwing arm after his last pitch of the game against Michael Young.

The Tigers went on to win the game against the Minnesota Twins 7-5.

Zumaya has gone through two consecutive seasons in which he was forced to miss a lengthy amount of the season due to injuries. In 2007, Zumaya missed nearly half the season after dislocating his right middle finger, and in 2008 he only pitched 50 games following a stress fracture in his right shoulder.

To say that this is a major blow to a Tigers’ bullpen, that has been absolutely dominant, would be an understatement. Zumaya has a 2.58 ERA, 11 holds, and 34 strikeouts this season, which puts the Tigers in an interesting predicament in finding a worthy replacement.

Alfredo Figaro seems to be the most viable option. In 2009 he contributed to the Tigers’ pitching rotation by adding 23 holds and 16 strikeouts.

Currently, Figaro is with AAA Toledo, but expect Jim Leyland to make some move by the end of this week.

Maintaining the rhythm the Tigers bullpen has going will definitely require Fu-Te Ni, Phil Coke, Eddie Bonine, and Jose Valverde to step up their game.

Zumaya was scheduled to have an MRI on his right arm this morning since the extent of his injury hasn’t been identified, although it is most likely a dislocated elbow.

Elbow dislocations can take anywhere from two to eight weeks to fully heal and that is not good news for the Tigers who are in the middle of a heated AL Central race.

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Detroit Tigers Pitcher Andy Oliver To Make Debut Tonight Against Atlanta Braves

Starting pitcher Andy Oliver will make his big league debut for the Tigers tonight against the Atlanta Braves.

Oliver, who Detroit took in the second round of the 2009 MLB Draft out of Oklahoma State, has been stellar with the Double-A Erie Seawolves. In his 14 starts, he has a 6-4 record with an ERA of 3.61 and 70 strikeouts.

Oliver has been moved up partially in response to starting pitcher Rick Porcello’s sophomore slump. As a result, Porcello was recently sent down to Triple-A Toledo.

Oliver will face off against veteran pitcher Kris Medlen, who has been outstanding this season as well. Medlen has a 4-1 record with a 3.33 ERA thus far, pitching as both a starter and reliever.

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Detroit Tigers Square Off With Former Teammate Dontrelle Willis

The Detroit Tigers look to keep their winning streak alive in interleague play against ex-Tiger pitcher Dontrelle Willis tonight.

So far, the Tigers have a perfect record against the National League, sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Washington Nationals in consecutive three-game series’.

Nonetheless, the Tigers should expect a tough night of work, considering D-Train will want to prove that he still has a capacity to contribute quality pitching outings.

However, Willis will have a difficult time doing so against the team that cut him for the lack of results.  He will be pitching against the man who filled his spot in the rotation—Armando Galarraga.

Galarraga has been stellar since he re-joined the Tigers after starting the season with AAA Toledo.

Galarraga has a 2-1 record with an ERA of 2.67, not to mention the “perfect” game he pitched.

Although the Arizona Diamondbacks have the highest ERA of all teams in the MLB right now, Willis has been pretty good during the short time he’s been with the club. Willis is 1-0 with an ERA of 1.80.

While with the Tigers, Willis wasn’t able live up to the hype. He constantly suffered with anxiety issues and the Tigers were nothing but patient. They gave Willis vacations, sent him to the minor leagues for a little, and even chose to cut Nate Robertson instead of him.

In terms of the regular season, this game means nothing—but to Willis, his pride is on the line as he hopes to start fresh with his new team.

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Four Tigers That Are Crucial To Detroit’s 2010 Season

The Tigers head into this 2010 season with championship aspirations and a talented roster, but they have also relied heavily on the support of a few Tigers.

The club has recently floundered offensively, allowing more runs than they have scored. Most recently, the Tigers were shut out by the subpar Chicago White Sox.

In terms of pitching, the only bright spot has been the Tiger bullpen. The starting pitching has been the definition of mediocre.

Here are four Tigers that need to continue to carry the team on their backs if they hope to be successful this season.

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Four Tigers That Could Be All-Stars This Year

This year, the Detroit Tigers are capable of great things in all facets of the game: regular season, post-season, as well as the All-Star Weekend.

The Tigers have the potential to send four players to Angels Stadium in Anaheim to compete like they did in 2009, despite losing two All-Star players last year (Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson).

However, the two Tiger All-Stars retained from last year are up for re-election. See who else in the race.

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