Sunday, March 10, 2013
Currently the Tigers leading candidate for a closer is Bruce Rondon. Rondon possesses Joel Zumaya like velocity on his fastball but unlike Zuyama his arm doesn’t break every time he pitches, which is a plus in my book. My only concern with Rondon is with his streaky command. A closer without command seems to have become a perennial problem for the Tigers. It wasn’t too long ago that we had Fernando Rodney as our closer and though he featured one of the nastiest changeups in the game, his command was always suspect. Every time he toed the rubber you were biting your nails hoping he could throw strike one. If he did it would be an easy and drama free day, if he didn’t you would probably see him walk the bases loaded and my wife would see me have a temper tantrum worse than a two year old on a sugar high. Then came Jose Valverde. Papa Grande also struggled with fluctuating command. It blew my mind that hitters ever took the bat off their shoulder when facing the Big Potato. If it were me in the box, I wouldn’t swing until he threw two strikes (a nearly insurmountable feat for Jose). I can’t tell you how many times I bashed my head into a wall watching Valverde try to find the strike zone (seriously though, I can’t tell you how many times. I think I have some pretty severe memory loss as a result of the repeated bashing). Fast forward to today and we might be in for the same white knuckle experience of watching our closer make every pitch scary. Don’t get me wrong, I like Rondon, (who doesn’t like a guy who throws 100mph cheese), but I find his lack of control disturbing. On a positive note, after a small mechanical correction from Jeff Jones, in Rondon’s latest outing he showed improved command of the fastball. If he can build on that performance then he will be a force to be reckoned with, but if his command woes continue and he is named closer I might have a brain aneurism this year!
Posted by Tyler Wheeler at 1:43 AM