The Tigers and their vaunted offense opened the 2008 season by being swept by the Kansas City Royals. Yesterday's starter, Jeremy Bonderman, ended last season on the DL with elbow issues. This Spring, he posted a 4.15 ERA in 21.2 innings with a WHIP of 1.48 and 14 Ks.
Last night, he allowed four runs in 6.1 innings. There isn't too much to be concerned about in those numbers. Granted, it is not a great line for ERA, but it is nothing beyond losing performance. What was a red flag were his strikouts - one.
Maybe he's pitching to contact. Maybe the Royals just had a good contact night. And maybe he is compensating for something.
Speaking of low K starting pitchers, the Indians Jake Westbrook added a nasty change-up this Spring that had scouts and pundits raving that this new weapon in nthe sinkerballer's arsenal will cause a big move upward in his performance. He made his season debut against the White Sox and pitched well. However, three strikeouts in 7.1 innings of work does not recall the stat line of a new and improved Jake Westbrook.
Regardless, he bears watching to see if this devastating change-up manifests itself in high K totals (fantasy plus) or if it becomes just a tool to set-up the sinker and groundballs that have made Westbrook a quality major league pitcher and a mediocre fantasy one.