Tigers need to shut down Zimmermann, he can't get another start

Tigers need to shut down Zimmermann, he can't get another start
Posted at 10:46 AM, Sep 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-12 10:46:46-04

That's right. The best thing for both Zimmermann - and the Tigers - is to shut down the right-hander for the rest of the season.

In no way is this simply an overreaction to Zimmermann's horrid start on Saturday night when he failed to record an out in the second inning, giving up six runs on four hits to Baltimore before getting pulled.

It's just that Zimmermann hasn't been right - or good - for a long time now. And it isn't like health is an issue any longer. Zimmermann, 30, insists he's 100 percent healthy.

For whatever reason, the Tigers just won't admit that Zimmermann can't get the job done at this point.

Sure, Tigers' manager Brad Ausmus said Zimmermann won't pitch on Thursday afternoon in series finale against the lowly Minnesota Twins. Instead, the Tigers announced that Zimmermann will pitch in a simulated game instead. He will throw 80 pitches in an effort to regain his stuff.

"He didn't feel like he had arm speed, he didn't feel like it was there," Ausmus said to the media about Zimmermann.

"So we're going to throw a (simulated) game to see if we can get it back. We'll go from there after we see what he looks like and how he feels."
Good luck with that. Zimmermann - who wasn't even sharp in his rehab starts in the minors - has been bad for some time. Hard to imagine things will improve with 80 pitches not in a real game.

Since July 1, Zimmermann - who returned from the disabled list after a neck strain on Saturday - has had just two starts and failed to get through the second inning in both. Worse, Zimmermann has allowed 23 earned runs on 28 hits in his last 12 1/3 innings of work.

That's not just a bad outing you can chuck out and dismiss. That's enough work to call it Exhibit A.

We get it. The Tigers have invested a lot of money in Zimmermann, giving him a five-year, $110-million deal. He was one of their big off-season signings. He was supposed to give the Tigers another No. 1-type starters at the top of the rotation along with Justin Verlander.

And it's hard to want to pass on Zimmermann when you remember how he started the season, winning the

American League Pitcher of the Month of April, going 5-0 with a stingy 0.55 ERA.

It was quite impressive, indeed. Most thought the Tigers had stolen a gem from the Washington Nationals in free agency.

But let's be honest. Zimmermann hasn't been close to that fantastic start. His ERA has been bloated ever since. Here's the breakdown by month:

April - 0.55
May - 4.88
June - 6.43
July - didn't pitch
August - 32.40
Sept. - 54.00

Zimmermann (9-6, 4.94 ERA) simply has been lousy for the majority of the season. And there's no proof that he can pitch well enough to win a game at this point in the season.

To his credit, Zimmermann called is outing embarrassing. And he isn't oblivious to the importance of games this time of the season.

"We need to win, so that's the biggest thing," Zimmermann said to the media after his debacle Saturday night. "I can't be going out there pitching like dog crap, not giving our team a chance to win. We need to win now."

Currently, the Tigers are two games out of the final AL wild card spot. They have lost five of their last six games.

At this point, Mike Pelfrey or Buck Farmer would be better starting in Zimmermann's spot.

Tigers must face the facts: Zimmermann is done for this season and can't help them in the run for the playoffs.

The Tigers can't afford to waste another start on him. The time has come for the Tigers to get realistic and them themselves an honest shot at the postseason.

With the season melting away, there's no time to have a soft spot for a pitcher who was, indeed, a stud when the season started. That guy doesn't pitch for the Tigers anymore. Baltimore showed you that.