Series Wrap-Up: White Sox – Grind and Survive.

33-27, 1st in AL Central (4.0 GU on MIN)

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(Photo courtesy of Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

I hate when the Tigers go on the road to Chicago. Nothing against the city whatsoever, but it’s always a brawl when we head into US Cellular field for a series against the White Sox. And more times than not, we come out on the wrong end.

This time around, things went a bit differently. Despite playing five games in the Windy City in order to make up a rain-out from earlier this season, the Tigers slogged and fought their way to a series win, taking three of five from the Sox. But it wasn’t pretty, and the Tigers have some decisions to make about their roster and who is going to be a contributing member of it.

First and foremost, Jeremy Bonderman is nowhere close to being ready to return to the starting rotation, let alone the big club’s roster. Bondo pitched the second game of a doubleheader on Monday and got shelled. He was only able to go four innings, throwing 85 pitches, and gave up six runs on eight hits. The problem? Three of those runs were home runs. Bondo also struggled with his control and velocity, only topping out at 90 MPH and leaving pitches up in the strike zone.

The obvious question is “now what?” Well, it looked like the initial plan was to put Bonderman in the bullpen until he was actually ready to return to the rotation, but that looks like it might be off the table. After being optioned to Toledo on Monday, Ryan Perry looks set to re-join the team when they arrive in Pittsburgh. Since he didn’t complete his 10 day stint with Toledo, that can only mean that someone from the current roster is headed to the DL. I have to believe it’s Bonderman, given that his ineffectiveness would keep him out of the rotation, and because he has never really worked in a bullpen role. We’ll know more when the team gets to Pittsburgh, but my money is on a quick trip to the DL for Jeremy.

As far as the rest of the series goes, it wasn’t EXACTLY business as usual, but it worked. Armando Galarraga had a decent outing in a “no decision”, Justin Verlander threw a complete game win, Dontrelle Willis was his usual roller coaster ride and Edwin Jackson cooled off a bit.

Offensively, it was Adam Everett (Adam Everett?!?!?) who had the big weekend, going 5 for 9 and driving in four runs, including a solo home run, which was only his second of the season. Brandon Inge also showed some flashes of his early season brilliance, and hopefully it’s a sign of things to come as the season keeps chugging along. But it wasn’t all peaches and cream for the Tigers, as Clete Thomas was sent back down to Toledo again. Jim Leyland said it was to work on his bat speed, as Thomas’ recent power surge has been supplemented by a surge in strikeouts as well. Replacing him is youngster Don Kelly, who has been a hitting machine for the Mud Hens, batting .339 with three home runs and 22 RBI’s. He will get the start in left field tomorrow.

On Deck: Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Record: 28-32 (5th in NL Central, 5.0 GB of Milwaukee)

Oh goodie. More sports against Pittsburgh.

Friday, June 12

  • Tigers – Rick Porcello (6-4, 3.98 ERA, 36 SO)
  • Pirates – Ian Snell (1-6, 5.54 ERA, 45 SO)

Saturday, June 13

  • Tigers – Armando Galarraga (3-6, 5.19 ERA, 44 SO)
  • Pirates – Zach Duke (6-4, 3.07 ERA, 44 SO)

Sunday, June 14

  • Tigers – Dontrelle Willis (1-3, 6.60 ERA, 16 SO)
  • Pirates – TBD
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