TigsTown Week in Review: Week 5

Just as it looked like the Tigers were in for a big down week, Jeremy Bonderman and Mike Maroth stepped up with a pair of excellent starts to take the series away from the Angels and help ease the sting of dropping three of four to the defending world champion Boston Red Sox in Detroit.

The series with Boston kicked off well, with Jeremy Bonderman topping the Red Sox despite not having his best stuff, leading the club to an eight to three victory. But it was all down hill from there, as the Tigers lost the next three games to the Sox by a total of four runs, with both one-run losses coming when bullpen members (Kyle Farnsworth, then Ugueth Urbina) couldn't keep Boston off the scoreboard. The Tigers couldn't claim spectacular opposition either, as the three pitchers they lost to (Bronson Arroyo, Tim Wakefield and John Halama) have never quite been world beaters.

The Tigers kicked off their west coast swing with yet another one run loss, this time at the hands of Kelvim Escobar, dropping them to 12-16, four games under .500 and seemingly on their way to worse. But then Bonderman came up big again, and a pair of late inning runs gave Bonderman enough cushion to convert the ‘W', and just like that the team was back in the win column. Sunday afternoon's game simply sealed the deal with another excellent start, this one coming from Mike Maroth. The team now enters their sixth week of play two games under .500.

Bonderman's outings this past week were especially impressive, as Bonderman got a pair of wins to improve to 5-2 for the year. Over his 14 innings, Bonderman struck out 14 while allowing just four runs. His game against Anaheim was a headliner, but possibly more telling was the job he did against Boston, working out of tough jams, and proving he can get a win for his team, even when he doesn't have his ‘A' game and isn't throwing his best stuff.

Another winning week has put the Toledo Mud Hens atop their division with a 4-2 week. The team split a two game series with Indianapolis before taking three of four from Louisville at Fifth Third Field. Both the offense and the pitching worked well throughout the week, though neither group was dominating. In fact, the offense averaged just 3.83 runs per game, though that average was dragged down by a shutout in Indianapolis. Curtis Granderson hit just .250 for the week, but had two multi-hit games, and also took a pair of walks, an area of concern for Granderson early in the year.

It was a good week in Erie as well, as the SeaWolves used a great week to vault the club to the top of the Southern division in the Eastern League. A 5-2 record helped get them there, helped along by a pair of very solid starts from Mike Bynum, having recently just returned to Erie after a brief call-up to Toledo. Bynum earned a pair of the team's wins, and gave up just five runs in his 13 innings of work, including a very impressive 17 strikeouts.

Lakeland continues their tear in the Florida State League, as they've improved their record to 23-7 on the year. The team was a perfect 7-0 and just doesn't even appear to be getting much of a challenge – they're average margin of victory for the week was almost four and a half runs per game – four and a half runs is a respectable amount of runs for a game period, and that's their margin of victory! Possibly the highlight of the week was Sunday afternoon's game against Binghamton, where Justin Verlander (2004 2nd overall pick) faced the Mets' Phillip Humber (2004 3rd overall pick) and Verlander clearly got the best of the duel, improving to 4-1 (Humber fell to 0-3).

Unfortunately, the Whitecaps couldn't make it another sweep with strong weeks all around, as the ‘Caps felt the struggles of youth and had a 1-6 record for the week. Collin Mahoney had his first taste of reality for the ‘Caps, blowing a pair of saves for the first time as West Michigan's closer. The team's lone win came against Burlington, when Randor Bierd led the way with seven strong innings. Bierd and Josh Kauten are now tied for the team lead with three wins apiece.

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