So, Jim Leyland, what exactly does Zach Miner have to do to be a part of next season's starting rotation? Geez, he should be in the rotation.
"People are saying, 'Geez, he should be in the rotation.' But it's not good to go that far at this point," Leyland said.
Well, if you say so. You're the boss. But seriously, Miner's looking pretty good as a starter. Certainly better than approximately 3/5 of the current rotation. In eight starts, Miner has a 5-1 record and 2.68 ERA. Last night, he gave up six hits to the Royals, which is the total number of hits he allowed in his previous two starts against KC, but held them to just one run over six innings.
I suppose I understand Leyland's stance. If Nate Robertson, Dontrelle Willis, Jeremy Bonderman, and maybe even Freddy Garcia all come back strong next year, there's not a slot for Miner in next year's starting rotation. So why give the kid false hope? At the same time, maybe Miner's pitching this well because he believes he's fighting for a spot on the team. And if you tell him he's got it, maybe he lets up a little bit.
Regardless of the role Miner has on next year's team, working as a starter has allowed him to refine his arsenal, making him a more complete pitcher. Wouldn't you agree, Mr. Leyland?
"He's a four-pitch pitcher now. Zach was basically a two-pitch pitcher out of the bullpen. He got some confidence now and good concentration. He knows how to handle and execute the game plan now."
Those four pitches, if you're keeping track, are a fastball, slider, change-up, and sinker. As a reliever, Miner mostly used his fastball and slider. But with the opportunity to throw more as a starter, he's been able to develop that sinker.
Miner said that in relief he used the fastball and slider to most right-handed hitters, while going with basically fastballs and changeups to lefties. Now he uses all three of those pitches with a sinker, which was especially effective against the Royals.
Geez, he should be in the rotation.
▪▪ After leaving the game in the fifth inning with a strained pectoral muscle, Miguel Cabrera is listed as day-to-day. (Isn't the whole team, at this point?)
▪▪ Dontrelle Willis will be activated to the Tigers' major league roster on Monday. He may not see any actual game action, but will at least be working with pitching coach Chuck Hernandez for the rest of the season. Will Freddy Garcia be doing the same?
▪▪ Michael Hollimon has been added to the squad of Tigers players headed to Mesa for the Arizona Fall League. He'll join Jeff Larish, Clete Thomas, Casey Fien, Luis Marte, Zach Simons, and Rudy Darrow.