Detroit Tigers: Bruce Rondon Disappoints in Major League Debut

Josh Berenter@JBerenterCorrespondent IApril 25, 2013

Mar 11, 2012; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Bruce Rondon (43) pitches against the New York Mets during the game at Joker Marchant Stadium. The Mets beat the Tigers 11-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Raise your hand if you're shocked that Bruce Rondon struggled in his major league debut on Thursday afternoon against the Kansas City Royals.

Against his first MLB batter, Rondon got into a 2-0 hole and then gave up a hit to Billy Butler, starting a rally.

In his first career inning-plus, Rondon gave up three hits, allowed two stolen bases, gave up one run and lost the Tigers 3-2 lead, forcing Justin Verlander to settle with a no-decision.

He threw 19 pitches—seven of which were balls—and started behind in the count to four of the six batters he faced.

His first seven pitches clocked in at 98, 96, 98, 98, 99, 99 and 100 mph, but he was ineffective, forcing Jim Leyland to bring Phil Coke to pitch in a tie game in the 10th.

Coke and Darin Downs will ultimately be the goats for Thursday's loss, as Coke allowed a double, a walk and an intentional walk to load the bases and then walking a run in to give the Royals the lead. Downs relieved Coke and promptly gave up a grand slam to put the game out of reach, but the 8-3 loss all started with Rondon.

Relievers, and especially closers, cannot afford to throw first-pitch balls to hitters. And they certainly cannot allow runners to steal two bases in one inning.

If the Tigers' apparent future closer would have done his job, the Tigers would have maintained the lead into the ninth and could've held on for the win.

It's only one game, but so far, the Rondon call-up isn't looking so great for the Tigers.