Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
Chris Lambert's call-up was one of those call-ups that was partially earned, but partially came about out of necessity. Lambert had separated himself as the next best option at Triple-A Toledo for a shot at starting in Detroit, but he hadn't been as impressive to the point that the Tigers felt they needed to bring him up. Lambert leads the 'Hens in strikeouts, has a solid 2.58 K:BB ratio, and has given up just seven long balls all year. The one thing that Lambert has battled though is consistency - most nights, he'll come out and turn in a quality start, but over his last ten starts, he's allowed four or more earned runs three times. Which is why it makes it so difficult to predict how Lambert will do in Detroit, because he hasn't even been that consistent against International League hitters. Nerves in his first big league start have to be taken into account, but Lambert, being a former first round pick of the Cardinals, has felt pressure before. I expect Lambert to be effective and give the Tigers a chance to win, but it won't be a dominating outing.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
Lambert's a guy I'm not entirely convinced on yet. The reports from the International League have been generally good, but occassionally spotted with comments about smoke and mirrors. His command has been markedly better this year, which is the primary reason for his turnaround after several poor seasons in the Cardinals' system. In total, I think we're going to see a pitcher that goes out there and throws a solid game that won't wow anyone. He's going to use his fastball, change, and curve to keep Indian hitters off balance, and try to work both sides of the plate regularly. If he can do that, he should be able to hold Cleveland to just a few runs in six or seven innings. If he does that, it will certainly be a successful debut, and a great audition for next season.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
At this point of the season, the Tigers will likely begin to take a look at some of the younger guys that could contribute next year, which should make September very interesting. If the Tigers wind up having to cut payroll (as has been rumored), the club will need to see which guys may have a leg up on the competition heading into the offseason. With that in mind, Chris Lambert's start (and any other ones he makes with the Tigers) will be important, because he'll be auditioning for a possible role with the team for next year. Lambert has the unenviable task of pitching against Cliff Lee, so it will be interesting to see how he fares. Hopefully, he'll pitch well and give the Tigers a lift in his major league debut.
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