Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
The injury bug has certainly bit the Tigers rotation, with only Jeremy Bonderman and Justin Verlander making it through the season unharmed up to this point (knocking on wood). But injuries haven't been the only problem. Andrew Miller was expected to carry the torch so to speak, but never logged the minor league innings to have the experience to do so. Justin Verlander hit a stretch where his arm seemed to simply be tired. And Jeremy Bonderman has arguably been the most disappointing Tiger since the All Star break, with a 1-6 record and an ERA approaching six. With that said, Justin Verlander needs to maintain the focus he had on Monday night against the Yankees, Nate Robertson needs to perform like he did last week against the Indians, and Andrew Miller, Chad Durbin, and whoever else might take a start from here on out need to be servicable. The Tiger offense is good enough that it can compete with just about anyone. And with Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya back and pitching well, the Tigers have their go to setup men in place. Six respectable innings, and hand it over to the 'pen. It's the Tigerrs recipe for their return to the playoffs.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
I think we're just looking at the cyclical nature of a baseball season. For a significant part of the first half, and nearly all of last year, the Tigers received exceptional starting pitching; and were largely healthy. With Robertson battling a tired arm, Rogers hitting the DL again, and Miller's hamstring, there was little doubt the performance of the starting staff would suffer. No matter how talented your young pitchers like Vasquez, Tata, and Jurrjens are, there is so much turmoil in the rotation, that you are bound to have some ups and downs. In the end, talent should rise to the top, and the Tigers pitching staff has so much talent, that I'm inclined to think they will find some happy medium of solid performance to back up one of the league's better offenses.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I think Lynn Henning got it right with his story in Monday's Detroit News. With Kenny Rogers out, the Tigers lost their veteran starter that not could eat innings and give the bullpen a rest, he was the guy who took the pressure off Jeremy Bonderman and Justin Verlander. With Rogers out, they held up well in the first half, but have wilted during the second half of the season. Couple this with the up-and-down season Nate Robertson's had, and the inconsistency of Andrew Miller, and it's easy to see why the rotation has regressed in a big way. One thing is for certain, no team has had worse luck than the Tigers with injuries considering what happened with Jair Jurrgens on Sunday. Just when the team was getting a badly-needed shot in the arm, Jurrgens departed with a shoulder injury. Hopefully he'll be fine in the long term, but his injury seemed to be a microcosm of the season to date. There is no question that if the Tigers qualify for the postseason, they will have earned it, considering how hard the team has been hit with the injury bug this year.
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