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 Bonderman asked to get win No. 1

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PostSubject: Bonderman asked to get win No. 1   Thu Apr 03, 2008 12:59 pm

04/02/2008 7:45 PM ET
Bonderman asked to get win No. 1
Kansas City (2-0) at Detroit (0-2), Thursday, 1:05 p.m. ET
By Jason Beck / MLB.com

Jeremy Bonderman worked this spring on honing his changeup at long last. Now, the Tigers are counting on him to help change up their fortunes of late.

History suggests they'll get it.

Though the histories of Bonderman and his changeup haven't had happy endings over the years, Bonderman's seasons have traditionally had very good beginnings. In the four seasons since he lost 19 games as a 20-year-old rookie up from Class A, Bonderman has had solid outings in his first start of each season.

Bonderman's past three seasons have opened with quality starts, and he fell one out shy of having one in 2004. Three of those were victories, the exception being last year's Opening Day loss to Roy Halladay and the Blue Jays.

Bonderman doesn't know why he has that kind of success when opening early, but he knows he feels that he can do it again.

"I feel ready," he said. "I don't feel I'm any more ready than I ever have been. I feel I'm ready to go. I'm going to go out and do what I can. Hopefully, I can go and have a good year. I've prepared myself and worked hard this year -- worked harder than I probably ever have."

The key to that, obviously, has been the changeup. It has been Bonderman's Spring Training project for the past several years, but he feels more comfortable with it now than he did in its previous renditions.

"I can throw it whenever I want," Bonderman said. "It's more a fact of believing in it and knowing I believe in it now, compared to what I used to. If you don't believe in a pitch, you're probably not going to throw it for strikes. I believe I can throw it for a strike and get a good result on it. It's just one of those things where you have to make yourself believe it."

Bonderman will throw it in any count, he believes, and he can throw it to right-handers and left-handers alike. He'd like to get 15 of them into his game by the time he's out.

The Tigers would also like to have a lead by then, but that'll be a team effort.

After losing Monday's season opener in extra innings, the Tigers were largely silent offensively against Brian Bannister and the Royals' bullpen on Wednesday afternoon. A loss on Thursday would give Kansas City its first sweep of Detroit since the Tigers lost their final three regular-season games of 2006 to fall out of the American League Central lead and into the AL Wild Card.

This one wouldn't have nearly that effect, but it would be a start the Tigers would rather avoid.

"You deal with it, what it is," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of the offensive struggles, "because expectations are so high and everything. So every time you have a day like [Wednesday] or a couple days like that, you get off 0-2, people are going to start right away. That's to be expected. But that's part of the stuff you deal with. I mean, if this club doesn't hit, we might as well all go home. But I'm not worried about that.

"I think what you see is when guys make good pitches, they shut teams down. I don't care how good your offense is."

That's what the Royals are observing, too.

"As a staff now, we know they have a lot of expectations," Bannister said on Wednesday, "and we want to put a lot of pressure on them early in the season and just establish that we can play with them."

Pitching matchup
DET: RHP Jeremy Bonderman (11-9, 501 ERA in 2007)
For what it's worth anymore with an improved Royals club, Bonderman has more wins against Kansas City (nine) than against any other team in his career. He just about dominated them in 2007, posting a 1.80 ERA in 20 innings over three starts, one of them a victory and two others resulting in no-decisions.

KC: RHP Zack Greinke (7-3, 3.69 ERA in 2007)
Greinke is a different type of pitcher than Bannister and Gil Meche, Monday's starter, so it remains to be seen what he'll take from their success over the first two games. Still, Greinke has had plenty of success against Detroit in his own right, posting a 6-3 record and a 3.40 ERA over 13 career appearances, 10 of them starts.

Tidbits
The Tigers were shut out three times last season. Each time, they won their next game. ... Ivan Rodriguez is 8-for-18 with a home run and four RBIs for his career against Greinke. But then, he has more hits against the Royals than any other active Major Leaguer. ... Following Thursday's game, Leyland will head to Joe Louis Arena and drop the ceremonial first puck prior to the Red Wings' game against the Blue Jackets.


On the Internet
MLB.TV
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• Gameday
• Official game notes
On television
• FSN-HD
On radio
• 97.1 FM/WXYT 1270

Up next

• Friday: Tigers (Nate Robertson, 9-13, 4.76) vs. White Sox (Jose Contreras, 10-17, 5.57), 1:05 p.m. ET


• Saturday: Tigers (Dontrelle Willis, 10-15, 5.17) vs. White Sox (Gavin Floyd, 1-5, 5.27), 3:55 p.m. ET

• Sunday: Tigers (Justin Verlander, 0-0, 6.00) vs. White Sox (Mark Buehrle, 0-0, 37.80), 8:05 p.m. ET

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: Bonderman asked to get win No. 1   Thu Apr 03, 2008 6:32 pm

So much for that. C'mon Nate!


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PostSubject: Re: Bonderman asked to get win No. 1   Thu Apr 03, 2008 6:33 pm

history suggests....NOTHIN'!
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PostSubject: Re: Bonderman asked to get win No. 1   Thu Apr 03, 2008 9:31 pm

04/03/2008 6:44 PM ET
Bonderman tweaking changeup
Right hander allows eight hits and two walks to Royals
By Jason Beck / MLB.com

DETROIT -- The result on the box score for Jeremy Bonderman's season debut was a loss. The result on the pitches was a little more positive.

Armed with his newly-honed changeup, Bonderman began his sixth Major League campaign looking to throw it early and in various counts. He was on with it early in the game before giving up a two-run homer to Alex Gordon in the fourth inning.

He didn't throw as many changeups as he might've liked, but when he did, he liked most of the results.

"I was getting a lot of quick outs on sinkers and stuff like that," Bonderman said. "When I threw [changeups], I felt I threw them well. I've given up home runs on other pitches, so giving up a home run on a changeup is part of the game. It won't be the last one I ever give up. I just want to focus on keeping the ball down."

That Bonderman isn't afraid of bad results with the offspeed is a big step. He has worked on his changeup for the past several years, but abandoned it in other seasons after bad results. The key, manager Jim Leyland said in Spring Training, will be for Bonderman to keep his confidence in it.

"He threw some decent changeups," Leyland said. "He got the one changeup up, and Gordon hit it out to the opposite field. I thought overall, he gave us a chance to win and pitched fairly well. All three of our starters did that."

Unfortunately for Bonderman, he ended up with the same result as Kenny Rogers a day earlier. Bonderman allowed four runs on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings to suffer his second straight season-opening loss, a start in which he normally shines.

"I made two mistakes," Bonderman said, "but other than that, I threw the ball really well. I moved the ball around, up and down the strike zone. I made a couple mistakes and they punished me for it."

The other mistake resulted in a Mark Teahen solo homer in the sixth inning.

But with the Tigers' offensive struggling for most of the day, Bonderman had virtually no room for mistakes.

"You have to give them credit," Bonderman said of the Royals. "It's not like they're slouches over there. Obviously they came in ready to go, and they threw great games. They kept us off-balance. They're a very good team, and I don't think anyone should take them lightly."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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