In his "Under the Knife" column today, Baseball Prospectus' Will Carroll speculated that the Tigers might be spraying some sunshine on the comeback prospects of Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney. Why? To help their bargaining position with potential trade partners.
After tonight's 8-7 loss, however, I think Dave Dombrowski lost any leverage he could've claimed in trade negotiations. Anyone who thinks the Tigers don't need bullpen help just need to take a look at the boxscore of tonight's game. Virgil Vasquez left with a 7-2 lead in the sixth inning, likely thinking he was going to earn his first major league win. Three innings later, the whole thing exploded like those fireworks the White Sox shoot off after the home team wins.
Macay McBride yielded one run in 1/3 of an inning. Chad Durbin gave up three runs in 1 2/3 innings. And Zach Miner finally coughed up the ballgame when the White Sox scored two runs off of him in the eighth inning. I was an English major in college, but I think that equals six runs in three innings.
Scoring seven runs should be enough for most any team, let alone this Tigers team, to win a ballgame. A five-run lead should be enough for most any major league bullpen to protect. Yes, Detroit's relief corps had been very good in the month of July, and maybe they deserve a break for that. But something happened on the way back from Minnesota. And now, this bullpen is losing games for the Tigers again.
Seven days remain until the (non-waiver) trade deadline. Do you still think the Tigers don't need to make a move?
Watch Out For Those Mud Hens
Before the bullpen imploded, I was all set to write that the White Sox had essentially been beaten by the Toledo Mud Hens. As mentioned above, Virgil Vasquez pitched well enough to win, giving up two runs in five innings with four strikeouts. Mike Hessman continued to play well enough to possibly warrant a longer stay in Detroit, with a home run and two RBIs. Ryan Raburn contributed two hits and knocked a run in. And Mike Rabelo has been with the Tigers long enough that he probably shouldn't be considered a minor league call-up anymore, but he had one of his best games of the season, with a 3-for-5 night.
Maybe the Tigers should've called up someone from Toledo to close out tonight's game.
Fortunately, tomorrow is another day, and the Tigers can try to forget what was a long, crappy day of baseball. Unfortunately, there are still two games at U.S. Cellular Field. After these past two nights, I'm getting pretty sick of looking at the place.