Inside Pitch: Need a Lefty?

The Tigers have long desired to have two effective left-handers in their bullpen. The Tigers now have two lefties, but haven't gotten a chance to find out how effective they are, because the rotation and an excellent pair of setup men has made them unnecessary.

Detroit has searched for years to find two reliable left-handed relievers. It has two bullpen lefties now -- and appears much of the time as though it doesn't need any.

Left-hander Jamie Walker gets most of the work when manager Jim Leyland needs a late-inning lefty, leaving little for lefty Bobby Seay, who made his first appearance since May 4 on Tuesday night.

But even Walker is almost begging for work with the starters routinely working into the sixth and seventh innings.

Games that get to the seventh with Detroit holding a lead often get turned over to the final three -- right-handers Joel Zumaya, Fernando Rodney and Todd Jones.

Only occasionally will Walker sneak into that trio, largely because all three are equally effective against right- and left-handed batters.

Zumaya throws so hard and has such an effective curve that it matters little which side of the plate the hitter is standing on. Same with Rodney, who has a mid-90s fastball contrasting with an unhittable 80 MPH changeup. Jones has an assortment of pitches he can call on that make the Tigers' closer effective against any hitter.

Not much use for lefties? It's all right with the Tigers.

REPLAY: Nate Robertson checked Minnesota on three runs over five innings and 1B Chris Shelton unloaded a three-run double in the five-run third inning Tuesday night to help Detroit extend its winning streak to five games with a 7-4 victory over the Twins.

Robertson gave up seven hits in his three innings. Four Detroit relievers finished up, with Todd Jones getting his 10th save in 11 tries.

Singles by Craig Monroe, Curtis Granderson, Placido Polanco and Ivan Rodriguez shaved Minnesota's 3-0 lead to 3-2 with base hits. Magglio Ordonez flied out, but Carlos Guillen walked to load the bases and Shelton's drive to right-center field glanced off Michael Cuddyer's glove for a three-run double.

The Tigers made it 7-2 in the fourth on a RBI single by Rodriguez and a bases-loaded walk to Guillen.

--LHP Nate Robertson worked through his one rough inning Tuesday night to join the other four members of Detroit's starting rotation with four victories. Robertson got into a bases-loaded, nobody out jam in the third and Minnesota scored twice on an RBI single and a sacrifice fly. Robertson worked five innings, but getting only one strikeout showed that his sharp slider wasn't present. Pitching more aggressively has helped Robertson.

--1B Chris Shelton got another critical hit for Detroit Tuesday night as his swing returns to what it looked like during his early season power surge. Shelton ripped a three-run double in the third inning to cap a five-run frame that let the Tigers turn a 3-0 deficit into a 5-3 lead. Shelton worked his way back from an 0-2 count to whack a full-count pitch for his double. His only bad at-bat of the night was his last time up, when he was called out on a checked swing strikeout on an outside pitch.

--SS Carlos Guillen is having another solid season now that he's two years removed from knee surgery. Guillen went 2-for-2 with two walks Tuesday night. He had a double and walked with the bases loaded. The shortstop has nine errors, but three two-error games have plumped that total.

--RHP Roman Colon got his first game action since being brought up to Detroit early this month. Colon worked a scoreless sixth inning, allowing just one hit Tuesday night while protecting a 7-3 Tigers' lead. Colon was able to keep his fastball down, which was a problem for him during his time with Detroit last year.

--DH Dmitri Young's quad wasn't as much of a problem as his bat Tuesday night. Young returned to the Detroit lineup after missing four games while he nursed his tender quad, but he didn't get a hit in four tries, and three of them resulted in strikeouts. Rust was one of the reasons manager Jim Leyland wanted him to go on a longer rehab assignment when he originally returned from the disabled list early in the month.

--LHP Bobby Seay was a little rusty Tuesday night in his first game action since May 4. Seay gave up a hit and a walk to the only two batters he faced as he didn't have much control.

Tigs Town Top Stories