After a make-up game on Monday, the Tigers had a six game road trip with a pair of the divisional foes, the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox.
The series with the Indians was marked by another postponement (though this time due to rain instead of snow), prior to a pair of Tiger victories. After missing three of their last four games, the team came out swinging, and put up a 10-spot on the Indians, helping Jeremy Bonderman cruise to his third victory. The highlight of the second game was the bullpen, for the first time all season, following through just the way it was expected with Kyle Farnsworth pitching the 7th, Ugueth Urbina the 8th, and Troy Percival it out in the 9th for his second save as a Tiger.
The Chicago trip didn't go quite as well, as the Tigers only took one of three and fell back below .500 in the process. Troy Percival blew a one run lead in the 9th, but having loaded the bases with no out, was able to only allow the one run, and Nook Logan drove in the game winner in the 11th, and Franklyn German closed it out for his 1st save of the year. The final two games were marred though by one tough close game, and another blowout. Jason Johnson tired late in the game and gave up the lead late as the Tigers fell back to .500. Then Sunday marked Jon Garland's second complete game shutout of the year, while Wilfredo Ledezma didn't come to close to keeping the team in the game.
Carlos Guillen had an especially impressive week (including three hits and three runs against Cleveland), that is until he felt some tightness in his hamstring Saturday night that forced him out on Sunday's game and might keep him out at the beginning of the week against Boston.
On top of the Tigers 3-2 record, the Mud Hens also put together a fairly strong week, going 3-3, also with a rainout midweek. Despite putting up six or more runs four times (including two 10-plus run games), the Mud Hens could only manage three victories, namely blaming a Sunday afternoon 9-7 loss. Kenny Baugh made two starts over the course of the week and never came out with a win, despite allowing just four runs over 12 1/3 innings of work.
The SeaWolves had a great week, as they carried a 5-1 record, raising their overall record up to 14-9 for the year. The only blemish was 7-1 loss against Altoona, in which Nate Cornejo pitched well but got no support from either the bullpen or the offense. The main source of the SeaWolves' surge? Likely the awakening of their offense, as they put up nearly eight runs per game over the last week, offense that their coaching (and pitching) staff has been waiting on to come around.
Lakeland didn't have to worry about the weather, as they got all seven games in to put together a 4-3 record. Their offense has continued to put runs up, the losses have really fallen at the hands of the bullpen, as all three losses came were of the one run variety. All three games saw the team fall behind in either the 8th or 9th inning, a tough thing for a young team to deal with. It should also be noted that the relievers that took the heat are former starters just learning to pitch from the back rather than the front, like Andy Baldwin and Brian Rogers. Hopefully with time, they'll learn to deal with the late inning pressure of having to pitch to hold a lead or a tie, especially in extremely close games.
And finally the Tigers' home state farm club, the West Michigan Whitecaps played an impressive eight games, gathering a 4-4 record to keep the organization's week all at .500 or above. The ‘Caps had a remarkable start, playing four games in just over 24 hours on Monday and Tuesday, to make up for the snowstorm that hit the state last weekend. The ‘Caps inexperience, especially on offense, is still shining through, as in three of the games they were shut out, with just 10 hits compared to six errors. Just one of the battles the ‘Caps will face throughout the season.