You may not want to admit it, but you always feared that Joel Zumaya was one pitch away from another – possibly catastrophic – arm injury. I certainly did.
But as this season wore on, I thought about it less and less. We were finally seeing the Zumaya we enjoyed so much in 2006 — but he was even better. He’d matured physically and mentally and was a reliable late-innings setup man.
When I saw him virtually crumble to the ground after throwing that pitch in the eighth inning — and I don’t remember if it was a ball or strike — I immediately thought the worst. Not that his career was over, but that something happened to his arm that would effect his life long-term. Perhaps as awful as what happened to Dave Dravecky.
I often wondered if Zumaya would benefit from a return to the starting rotation, where he started his career in the minors. He could ease off the gas pedal and pace himself over several innings, not go all-in on every pitch over two innings. Now I’m thinking that’s probably not an option for him either.
Officially, the Tigers are calling it an injury to the elbow and we’ll likely know more about it later today. It certainly doesn’t look like Zumaya will pick up a baseball again this year or even next.
In the fall of 2007 I wrote here that Zumaya could be this generation’s Mark Fidrych — doomed to be remembered as a one-season star.
For a few months this season, I thought Zumaya had put our minds at ease.
The Detroit Tigers turned in another dud of a performance tonight, falling to the New York Mets 5-0 at Citi Field tonight.
The Mets veteran right-hander R.A. Dickey won his sixth start (6-0) in seven tries, throwing eight scoreless innings, allowing just four hits. Dickey retired the final 13 batters he faced.
Jeremy Bonderman pitched another strong game, perhaps becoming the most consistent starter. Bondo allowed just two earned runs before departing, but was on the hook for two more when he was relieved by Joel Zumaya and Phil Coke. His final line: 6 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K.
The Tigers had an opportunity in the first inning when they loaded the bases with two outs. Carlos Guillen ended the threat when he grounded out harmlessly to second.
After the first, the Tigers failed to get anything going offensively against a seemingly pedestrian Dickey knuckleball. They are not the only ones to struggle against Dickey, however, as he lowered his ERA to 2.33.
Jeremy Bonderman threw seven strong innings and the offense added 19 hits as the Tigers defeated the Washington Nationals 8-3 on Thursday afternoon.
The victory caps a second straight series sweep, and overall 6-game win streak, a stretch in which the Tigers have scored 37 runs on a whopping 70 hits. It’s a pleasant sight for Tigers fans, who had recently endured a stretch where the cats had lost 12 of 18 with the main culprit being a stagnant offense.
Miguel Cabrera extended his league-leading RBI total to 59, going 2-for-5 with a double and three RBI. Alex Avila went 2-for-4 with a long double in the 2nd inning, driving in two runs.
Not to be lost in the offensive onslaught is Jeremy Bonderman, who allowed just two earned on five hits while fanning seven in seven innings of work.
Note: I began writing this report card at the 40-game mark but ran into computer troubles and wasn’t able to post it. Though the Tigers have blown past that milestone I’ll still submit it for your consideration.
If you’ve followed the Tigers for any length of time, you’re probably familiar with Sparky Anderson’s old saying about giving a team 40 games before drawing any conclusions. Last Wednesday night Justin Verlander handcrafted the Tigers 5-1 win over the A’s on Wednesday and gave the Tigers a 23-17 record at the 40-game mark. So, is it time to draw conclusions?
The Gist:Justin Verlander delivered his third consecutive stellar outing and Scott Sizemore (3 RBI) and Miguel Cabrera (2 RBI) paced the offense on a raw day in Cleveland. Joel Zumaya was terrific again throwing 21 of his 28 pitches for strikes and racking up five strikeouts in two innings.
The Quote: “It was a good win on a miserable day.” — Jim Leyland
The Stat:15 — The number of Indians strikeouts by a trio of Tigers pitchers: Verlander, 9; Zumaya, 5; Jose Valverde, 1.
Up Next: Sunday — Tigers @ Indians | Progressive Field | 1:05 p.m. ET
The Gist: For the first time in nearly nine years, Brad Thomas took the hill as a starter and did enough to keep the Tigers in the game until the offense took over in a kooky fourth inning. With two outs that inning, Ryan Raburn and Ramon Santiago scored on a wild pitch when the ball ping-ponged off the brick backstop and rolled toward Gene Lamont along the third-base line.