Tag: Eddie Bonine

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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Eddie Bonine Dazzles in Relief, Tigers Consider Rick Porcello Demotion?

Rick Porcello got kicked around again on Wednesday night. This has become a common occurrence throughout the 2010 season. Starting against the Chicago White Sox, he only lasted 3.1 innings, allowing eight runs. 

Porcello’s season ERA rose from 5.25 to 6.09.

Just like in most of his outings this season, he looked extremely hittable. I know that is a subjective evaluation, but this is an attribute that he did not seem to possess in 2009.

Consider a look at his statistics. Going into tonight’s start, opponents were hitting a whopping .315 against Porcello this year, up from .267 last year. WHIP is also up from 1.34 to 1.65, which means he is allowing a ton of base runners, and voila, runs start scoring.

The Tigers have been making a flurry of roster moves the past couple weeks. One of those moves was to send SP Max Scherzer on a tune-up assignment to Toledo to find his form. 

Upon his return Scherzer lit up the Oakland A’s, striking out 14 in 5.2 innings. He did get kicked around by Kansas City in his last start, however, so the jury is still out as to whether or not this has been a completely successful move.

After tonight’s awful performance, though, one would have to imagine the Tigers are considering sending Porcello on a vacation to Toledo for a couple weeks to have him work on something, anything. 

His short term replacement is already on the roster. Enter Eddie Bonine, who, once again, was called upon to mop up a disastrous outing by a starting pitcher. 

Bonine pitched four innings and was lights out for three of them. He was charged with three runs in his fourth frame, but two of those were inherited runners that Fu-Te Ni allowed to score in a rubbish heap performance. 

Overall in the 2010 season Bonine has been great. I pointed this out a couple weeks ago, and my point is still valid. Bonine’s ERA rises to a mere 2.30 after tonight, in 31.1 innings of work.

There are many virtues to moving Bonine to the rotation and sending Porcello down temporarily. 

No one expects Porcello’s struggles to be anything but temporary. It’s called a sophomore slump, and they are real. The scouting reports have gotten around on Porcello and guys know how to hit him now. It’s time to make adjustments, and a trip to Toledo expedites this process.

Moving Bonine to the rotation rewards a guy who has pitched outstanding baseball all season. He has only been in the bullpen because of a lack of rotation space. Time to make some room.

Finally, moving Bonine to the rotation opens the need for a relief pitcher. There are a few relievers having great seasons for the Mud Hens. This would be a chance to call one of them up for a couple weeks to see what they have.

Perhaps Daniel Schlereth or Jay Sborz? I think yes.

In the end what it comes down to is this: You can’t let Porcello continue to get roasted by major league hitters all season. It could be an irrevocable blow to his composure and confidence. 

Everyone seems to forget that he is only 21 years old. Bumps in the carpet like this have to be anticipated and ironed out. 

Let’s get the iron out in Toledo for two weeks.

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Zach Miner: Tommy John Surgery on Tap, Detroit Tiger Fans Hardly Upset

Zach Miner…..does that name even ring a bell to anyone? Certainly not in 2010. Ok, you might remember him from such exciting shows as Imploding ‘Pen 2009 and Fail ‘Pen 2008. 

Miner is an everyman reliever and sometime starter most notable for not being notable. The story is always the same—average stuff, below average strikeout rate, above average walk rate, never an exceptional outing, and usually pitches as if he belongs on the trash heap.

I could never understand why manager Jim Leyland had such a man-crush on Miner. Yes, perhaps it was because after 2006 he did not have much else to be excited about. Joel Zumaya spent most of the time injured, Fernando Rodney was wild, and Todd Jones stole most of his energy. 

Leyland always loved Miner in late game situations because of his “sinker” ball and ability to get ground balls with runners on base to try to turn double plays.

That “sinker” ball was usually the one that couldn’t be thrown for strikes, was smacked into the outfield, or deposited into the seats. 

Let’s face it, I’ve got close to no love for Miner. He is at best a mediocre pitcher whose value has always been overstated by management. Then again, criticizing Leyland and his use of the bullpen is something I could write a volume of articles about. 

Well, no one has to worry about Zach Miner this year. That is, except for whoever is putting him under the knife on Friday.

Miner’s season is over, he is having elbow ligament replacement “Tommy John” surgery on Friday. 

Miner was shut down during spring training due to discomfort in his elbow. He finally resumed throwing at the beginning of May, in extended spring training, before being shut down again.

Did anyone miss him?

In an unrelated note, the Tiger bullpen has been phenomenal in 2010. Ryan Perry had a rough outing against the Mariners today, but one melt down can be forgiven in the light of how great he has been this year. 

I eat more potatoes than ever, wash them down with Coca Cola, and wish I drove a Mazda. What’s better, Miner has been replaced by someone who is actually good.

Not just average so far, Eddie Bonine has been great. #mce_temp_url#  (I’m just leaving this disgusting looking link sitting here in the middle of my article since I still can’t figure out the link changer after seven tries).

So Miner can take all the time he needs to recover. Believe me, he is going to need it. This is “Tommy John” surgery we are talking about. Miner’s 2010 season is done and his 2011 season is now in jeopardy. 

Yet, the Tiger’s bullpen continues to destroy opposing hitters. Maybe Miner does his best pitching from the DL.

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The Case for Eddie Bonine of the Detroit Tigers

Bo·da·cious, adjective: remarkable, outstanding.

That sounds like Eddie Bonine of the Detroit Tigers this year, does it not? That is what I have taken to calling him lately: Bodacious Bonine.

I’ll go one further: Steady Eddie.

I will note, one really has to impress me in order to get labeled with the “S” word.

I have been continually making a case for Eddie Bonine to a sports savvy friend of mine, insisting that Bonine deserved a crack at a few starts. I will now make my pitch to Tiger nation. But I’m not going to bring the heat, my friends, oh lordy no; I’m going to fire a knuckleball.

I will call my first witness, the Texas Rangers. On April 24, Dontrelle Willis was scratched from his scheduled start due to flu-like symptoms. For some unknown reason, lefty Brad Thomas got the spot start.

It took him 66 pitches to get through three innings, surrendering eight hits and four runs. Steady Eddie was called upon to relieve.

I will submit Peoples’ Exhibit 1, the box score from that night. Bonine relieved to the tune of three scoreless innings of one-hit ball. It only took him 35 pitches to do so. With pitching that efficient, had he started, he could have been good for five or six innings.

The Texas Rangers can step down.

I will call my next witness, the New York Yankees. On May 10, Willis was again scratched from his scheduled start, due to a fever of 102. Yikes.

After such a great body of work against the Rangers, one would think Bonine would have received the spot start. Wrong. I will remind you that we are under oath here. Thomas once again was given the ball to start the game.

Peoples’ Exhibit 2, the box score from this game: Thomas threw 68 pitches in three innings, walking three and allowing two runs. Steady Eddie again relieved, throwing 2.1 scoreless innings in only 35 pitches, silencing the Bronx Bombers.

These two games together are a significant body of work, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. In two spot start scenarios for the bullpen, Bodacious Bonine has easily outpitched Thomas. Spot start situations are crucial for a bullpen, for if disaster strikes, the bullpen can be crippled for a week afterward.

This usually happens when a spot starter does not eat enough innings and a heavy workload befalls the rest of the relievers. Crippling the bullpen can, of course, be disastrous, leading to multiple losses.

Good thing Steady Eddie was there to bail them out.

For the season Bonine has only allowed four runs in 22.2 IP. His peripherals are not great—nine walks to eight strikeouts.

The walks are not that bad, and the lack of Ks actually underscores how well he has been pitching. Opponents are putting the ball in play, but the defense is gobbling them up (I will play devil’s advocate on myself by noting that he has a vastly unsustainable .177 BABIP).

The Tigers have been searching for reliable and steady starting pitching. Max Scherzer was sent to Toledo, and understandably Armando Galarraga was recalled to start in his place. Gally has posted decent numbers for the Mud Hens, but I will still make my point clearly: Steady Eddie still deserves a chance to make some starts for the Detroit Tigers. 

Yes, he has been great in the bullpen, but he does not pitch in a crucial role. “Papa Grande” is the closer, with Joel Zumaya, Ryan Perry, and Phil Coke regularly tying down the late inning work. Very rarely does Bonine pitch in a crucial game situation, and that is doing him a disservice. 

(Insert glittering testimonial here to sway an unsuspecting jury.) Plus, this guy throws a knuckleball! How can you not love a guy that throws a knuckleball?!

OK, so Bonine is not a conventional knuckleballer in the same sense as, say, Tim Wakefield. Bonine still sports a good fastball that he throws 51 percent of the time, and only 26 percent of his pitches are high-velocity knuckleballs. 

Still, the game of baseball is so much more enjoyable watching knuckleballers fire junk at opposing hitters.

Remember the heyday of Wakefield in Boston? How about Steve Sparks, the former Tiger who tried to make wearing eyeglasses on the field “cool?”

Anyone remember R.A. Dickey? He pitched against the Tigers a couple times last season. He’s the guy who doesn’t have an ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. He just resurfaced in the bigs Wednesday, making a start for the Mets and tossing six innings.

Finally, there is Charlie Haeger of the Dodgers, the pride of Detroit Catholic Central High School. 

The game of baseball is so much more fun when a knuckleballer is on the mound, ladies and gentlemen. The People rest their case.


Bodacious, as defined on dictionary.com. Advanced metrics on Eddie Bonine were gathered from fangraphs.com

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