DETROIT Jacob Turner had auditions for hisshort-term and long-term future on Tuesday.
He failed both spectacularly in a 13-0 loss to the Angels.
With two weeks until the trade deadline and the Tigers in dire need of aconsistent starter, Turner could have done one of two things with a strongouting against Los Angeles. He could have earned a rotation spot, or he couldhave made himself an attractive trade chip for another of Dave Dombrowski'slast-minute deals.
Neither happened. It wasn't even close.
Turner lasted just two innings, allowing seven runs that included nearly aquarter-mile of homers by Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo and Albert Pujols.
"Obviously, I made some mistakes and they put some good swings onthem," Turner said. "I don't think I need to make major changes. Ijust need to find a way to get pitches where I want them more often."
Turner wasn't kidding when he said that the Angels were getting good wood onhis pitches. Although Pujols' homer was fairly routine, Trumbo's ball easilycleared the visitors bullpen in left-center and Trout hit a 430-foot shot thatbounced onto the concourse above Sparky Anderson's retired number.
"I thought he made a few good pitches, but he was having trouble gettinghis breaking ball over and getting ahead in the count," catcher Alex Avilasaid. "It's tough to pitch like that, especially against a team like theAngels."
Turner has been Detroit's top prospect since he was selected ninth in the 2009draft. The right-hander debuted with the Tigers just two years after turningpro and only a few weeks after his 20th birthday.
He's made five major league starts over the last two seasons and shown verylittle indication that he's ready for more than emergency duty. With Tuesdaysdebacle, he's now 0-2 with a 9.15 ERA, even though all of his outings have comeat spacious Comerica Park.
"I don't think there is any extra pressure pitching at the major leaguelevel, but there's a huge difference in the talent level," he said."When you make a mistake in the big leagues, you are going to pay for it alot more often than you do in the minors."
At 21, Turner still has plenty of time to develop into the pitcher Detroit hasexpected, but manager Jim Leyland agrees that his development needs to come ata different level.
Turner started this season with Class-A Lakeland while rehabbing a shoulderproblem from spring training. After moving up to Triple-A Toledo, he posted a4-2 record with a 3.16 ERA.
"Jacob has the potential to be a top starter, and I expect that he'll behigh in someone's rotation someday," Leyland said. "But he's notready right now. He doesn't have the seasoning that he needs to be successful.
"We were hoping to catch lightning in a bottle (Tuesday), but I reallydidn't expect that. I didn't expect this, either, but we were just hoping hecould have given us five or six innings in a close game."
Leyland wouldn't comment on who will start Sunday against the White Sox thenext time that Turner's spot comes up in the rotation.
For the good of Turner's career and the good of the pennant race, it's probablybest that it be someone else.
BOMB THREAT NO. 3
For the third time in recent days, a bomb threat was made against a busyDetroit landmark this time, Comerica Park. According to a report on WXYZs website,a threat was called into 9-1-1 around 8 p.m., well after the Angels had takentheir early big lead Los Angeles scored four in the first inning and threeruns in the second.
Unlike the earlier incidents, where the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and theAmbassador Bridge were closed for several hours, the game proceeded withoutinterruption. No announcements were made, and the WXYZ report indicates thatthe bomb squad was not sent to the stadium.
ONCE EVERY YEAR
Lost in the Los Angeles hitting display tying a season high with five homers was that star prospect Garrett Richards and David Carpenter combined to shutthe Tigers out on four hits.
Detroit hadn't been held scoreless in 367 days, dating back to a 9-0 loss tothe White Sox on July 16, 2011. The streak, which ended at 158 games, was thelongest in franchise history.
"Richards has a great arm and great talent, but he didn't have a greatouting tonight," Leyland said. "He was all over the place, and Ithink we would have gotten to him if it had been a close game.
"He was able to relax when it was 7-0, though, and he was able to relaxeven more when they kept adding on runs."