Armando Galarraga Has Become Detroit Tigers Ace

What a difference five months can make.

At the beginning of the 2008 season, the Detroit Tigers’ roster seemed so solid and certain.  Justin Verlander was our ace starting pitcher; Jeremy Bonderman was our number two guy; Pudge was our catcher; Miguel Cabrara was our third baseman; Brandon Inge was trade bait; Todd Jones was our closer.

To date, none of those things have panned out.

Verlander has been shaky and inconsistent; Bonderman is out for the year; Pudge is gone; Cabrara is at first; Inge is a regular starter; Jones’s career is all but over.

If there is one bright spot on the 2008 Detroit Tigers, it has to be the incredible performance of starting pitcher Armando Galarraga.  Out of nowhere, the 25 year old rookie has amassed a 9-4 record with a 3.23 ERA and 82 strike outs.  For all practical purposes (although you will never hear Jim Leyland or Dave Dombrowski say this publicly) Galarraga has emerged as the ace of the Tigers’ starting rotation.

Galarraga goes for his 10th win of the season tonight against the Oakland A’s.  If he is able to get to 15 wins by the end of the year, Galarraga should be a serious contender for American League rookie of the year.

Galarraga represents hope for a pitching staff that is in need of a serious shake up.  Lucky for the Tigers that a player who didn’t figure in to their plans at the beginning of the season has become such a consistent and dominating presence on the mound.