Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch 2009-05-18

Power arms.

General manager Dave Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland both like them.

Since Dombrowski arrived on the scene shortly after the start of the new century he began stockpiling young high-velocity arms, both for the rotation and the bullpen.

One of Dombrowski's first moves was to pick up Jeremy Bonderman, who came up as a 20-year-old in 2003. Justin Verlander and Joel Zumaya arrived in 2006 to bolster the rotation and the bullpen, respectively.

Dontrelle Willis has yet to pay dividends but he throws hard for a left-hander and newcomer Edwin Jackson has a nice mid-90s heater. Rookie Rick Porcello isn't a classic power arm but he sinks the ball with gusto and his curve lately has been devastating.

Rookie Ryan Perry worked a scoreless one-hit inning of relief Sunday to protect an 11-7 lead just after rookie Luke French, whose fastball tops out at 91, worked a pair of scoreless innings. And Fernando Rodney closed it out, featuring his upper-90s fastball and superlative changeup.

It's interesting to note that in the game Detroit blew at Minnesota during last week, in which it coughed up six runs in the seventh after Verlander was removed from the game, it was the lack of a power reliever that hurt the Tigers' chances.

Perry had been burned up two days before and Zumaya was used up to the tune of 46 pitches in Detroit's 13-inning loss the night before. Perry has been able to learn on the job in the majors primarily because he throws a mid-90s two-seam fastball that right-handers find impossible to hit.

Zumaya gave up the game-tying two-run home run in the ninth off a 99-mph fastball but that's a case of "hit it if you can."

For the most part, Detroit's power arms in the rotation are carrying the starters deeper into games and the hard-throwing relievers are shortening games on the back end.

TIGERS 11, ATHLETICS 7: 2B Ramon Santiago had four hits and was a double short of the cycle Sunday while CF Curtis Granderson hit a three-run home run to help Detroit complete a weekend sweep of Oakland. Santiago's three-run home run in the third gave Detroit an 8-6 lead after Oakland had jumped out to a 6-0 lead nine outs into the game. The Athletics routed RHP Armando Galarraga with five runs before he could finish the first inning but RHP Zach Miner, LHP Luke French, RHP Ryan Perry and RHP Fernando Rodney checked the A's as the Tigers fought back with four runs in the second and third innings. LF Josh Anderson had a two-run triple and SS Adam Everett went 3-for-3 with an RBI. Detroit swept Cleveland last weekend but was swept in between at Minnesota.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: May 18, 2009