Dontrelle Willis Goes Down in First, Bullpen Carries the Tigers Past the White Sox

Michael KinkellaContributor IApril 11, 2008

      After the slow start on the season, it appeared things were about to get worse on Friday night.  Tigers starter Dontrelle Willis left the game in the first inning with runners on second and third with no outs after hyper-extending his knee, leaving the outcome of the game on the arms of the Tigers bullpen.

    Coming into the 2008 season, experts said that the weakness of the Detroit Tigers would be their bullpen.  However on Friday night that weakness became their strength, pitching nine innings and allowing just one run.  Aquilino Lopez came in for Willis in just the first inning and pitched four strong innings and was replaced by Jason Grilli.  Grilli had struggled thus far on the season, however on Friday night, he pitched three innings without allowing a single run.  Denny Bautista then came on in the eighth inning to get the hold and turn it over to closer, Todd Jones.

    The Bullpen wasn't the only thing that appeared to be back to normal for Detroit.  The Tigers' offense appears to be back to their dominating ways as well as they had won two of their last three games.  Friday night the Tigers came away with eleven hits, and were finally able to advance runners and make the White Sox pay for walked batters.

    The Tigers walked away with a 5-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.  The two clubs will meet again on Saturday in Chicago at 1:05 eastern time.  The scheduled pitchers are Justin Verlander for the Tigers, and Gavin Floyd for the White Sox.