First impressions are important. Jose Ortega and Luke Putkonen have made good ones the past couple days. Ortega had his second consecutive impressive outing and Putkonen pitched well and earned his first career victory in his season debut Thursday night in a 7-3 victory over the Houston Astros. The Tigers bullpen put together an impressive pitching line while holding the Astros at bay: 7IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 2BB, 11SO. Joaquin Benoit pitched impressively for two innings, but the bullpen's performance was bookended by excellent outings by Ortega, who pitched the eighth and ninth, and Putkonen, who entered the game in the 12th and put the finishing touches on the win. Catcher Brayan Pena, who watched Ortega from the dugout and caught Putkonen after pinch-hitting in extra innings for Alex Avila, came away impressed. "That shows how deep we are and that shows that the organization is going in the right direction, with all these young kids that are stepping up the way they're doing," he said. "Man, it's impressive. I think the future is bright. I'm no GM or anything, but those kids that came up are pretty good. They showed that they belong in the big leagues." When asked what made Ortega and Putkonen so impressive, Pena bypassed any discussion on the command they had of their pitches or their arsenal and went straight to mound presence.
Detroit Tigers' Brayan Pena: 'Future is bright' because of pitchers like Jose Ortega, Luke Putkonen
Michigan Live | May 3