Just three losses away from the dubious distinction, Bonderman makes what very well may be one of his last starts of the season as the Tigers complete a three-game series with the Cleveland Indians at Jacobs Field.
Bonderman picked up his 17th loss—just one shy of teammate Mike Maroth for the major league lead—in Friday’s 6-5 defeat to Anaheim. The 20-year-old right-hander allowed six runs and seven hits over seven innings, striking out six and walking three.
Bonderman has thrown 139 2-3 innings this season, nearly 30 away from the limit manager Alan Trammell and pitching coach Bob Cluck set for him at the start of the season.
Bonderman, who has said all along he isn’t the least bit concerned about becoming the first pitcher to lose 20 since Oakland’s Brian Kingman in 1980, is just hoping the Tigers will make their ultimate decision for the right reasons.
“If I get shut down because of the innings I’ve thrown, that’s fine,” Bonderman said. “But I don’t want to come out of the rotation because of the games I’ve lost. Losing 20 games isn’t going to change who I am and I’m not about to back down from the challenge.”
Trammell refused to elaborate on what he would do if Bonderman reached the 19-loss mark with several starts remaining.
“That’s something that I will think about and we will discuss,” Trammell said. “I’m not going to make that decision tonight.”
The Tigers took Tuesday’s series opener 5-4, but lost 9-7 on Wednesday despite hitting a season-high five homers.
STANDINGS: Tigers - 5th place, 37 GB, AL Central. Indians - 4th place, 12 GB, AL Central.
TIGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Bonderman (6-17, 5.28 ERA). Bonderman 0-2 with a 4.15 ERA in three starts against Cleveland.
INDIANS PROBABLE STARTER: Cliff Lee (2-1, 2.25 ERA). Lee has been impressive in his first three starts of the season. The rookie left-hander posted his second win Friday at Tampa Bay, limiting the Devil Rays to two runs and six hits over eight strong innings in an 8-3 victory. Lee has allowed five earned runs over 20 innings in his first three outings. He is making his first career appearance against Detroit.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Tigers - Young, .296 avg., 27 HRs, 70 RBIs and 66 runs; Alex Sanchez, 31 SBs. Indians - Milton Bradley, .321 avg. and 17 SBs.; Casey Blake and Gerut, 16 HRs; Blake, 61 RBIs and 68 runs.
SEASON SERIES: Indians, 10-4.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Tigers - Detroit has not won two straight on the road since June 3-4 at San Diego. … OF Monroe has six homers in his last 16 games, and eight this month. … 1B Young is riding a 13-game hitting streak. Indians - 2B Brandon Phillips, recalled from Triple-A Buffalo before Wednesday’s game, went 0-for-1 and scored a run. However, he got a bruised right wrist when he was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning and was replaced by INF Angel Santos in the fifth. … OF Ryan Ludwick is 19-for-46 (.413) in his last 13 games. … OF Crisp scored four runs Wednesday, becoming the first Indian to do so since Roberto Alomar on Sept. 19, 2001.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Tigers - 18-50 on the road; Indians - 33-34 at home.
INJURIES: Tigers - C A.J. Hinch (groin), 15-day DL; INF Eric Munson (thumb), 15-day DL; 3B Dean Palmer (shoulder and neck), 60-day DL. Indians - C Victor Martinez (ankle), 15-day DL; OF Bradley (back), 15-day DL; RHP Jason Boyd (arm), 15-day DL; RHP Jason Bere (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Dave Elder (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Bob Wickman (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Mark Wohlers (elbow), 60-day DL; INF Ricky Gutierrez (back), 60-day DL; OF Ellis Burks (elbow), 60-day DL.