Sunday, July 19, 2009

Punchless Tigers come home with backs against wall

        Joel Zumaya is back on the disabled list, rookie Ryan Perry is back in the big leagues -- and the Tigers’ backs are against the wall.
        The only good news coming out of the Tigers’ weekend in New York was the fact they are coming home where they are 27-13 -- and where, for some reason, they have hit much better than they have on the road.
        The coming  week, with first Seattle at Comerica Park, and then the White Sox in town for four games, could be crucial to the Tigers’ chances of hanging on to first place.
        The bad news is, after the Tigers wasted  outstanding pitching performances in New York by their All-Stars, Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson, for want of a few clutch hits, we won’t see the two aces back on the mound until Chicago gets here.    
        Except for the Friday night meltdown by Joel Zumaya -- who has “re-aggravated the stress fracture” in his right shoulder -- the Tigers pitched well enough to sweep the Yankees.               
        Instead, they were swept.
        Against the Yankees, who admittedly featured some fine pitching of their own, the Tiger batters looked as if they were still on All-Star break.
        You don’t earn a place in the postseason scoring two runs in two games.
        Zumaya originally suffered the stress fracture in his right coracoid late last season and was shut down for the rest of the year.
        Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand told reporters in New York on Sunday that Zumaya might require arthroscopic surgery. “We need to get him pain-free first,” Rand said.
        Meanwhile, Brandon Lyon, who lost his bid to become the Tigers’ closer to Fernando Rodney in spring training, will take over Zumaya’s duties as the eighth-inning set-up man. Perry will take Lyon’s place, pitching the seventh when the Tigers are tied or leading in a game.


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