The Tigers bullpen not only continues to struggle in games, but there is even a chance that they look worse than they did last year.
Closer Joe Nathan who was supposed to come in and bring stability has done everything but that. In six games this season, Nathan has an ERA of 7.94 while blowing two saves out of four opportunities. For the Tigers to bring in a pitcher such as Nathan with all the experience he brings and for him to start off 2014 struggling the way he has been could be an early sign of trouble for the Tigers.
Nathan was not the only big name relief pitcher the Tigers signed. Former New York Yankee and now Detroit Tiger Joba Chamberlain has been another big name relief pitcher who has struggled so far in 2014. In just six games this year as well, Chamberlain has an ERA of 5.06 in less than six innings pitched. While Chamberlain has been known to be a pitcher who can provide energy to a stadium with his pitching, he has struggled the past couple of years and hopefully this isn’t an foreshadow of things to come.
Not only are these two pitchers struggling, but the other pitchers who have been familiar with life in Detroit are off to a slow start as well.
Pitchers Al Alburquerque and Phil Coke have continued to show signs of inconsistency dating back to last year. While Alburquerque has been a little more consistent than Coke, he needs to find a way to keep his wild pitching under control.
Coke on the other hand, well let’s just say something has got to give. Coke has an ERA of 8.10 this season in five appearances and hasn’t shown signs of improvement. With Coke being the only left-handed relief pitcher that the Tigers have, they may feel a little pressure to keep Coke in situations where you can set up a lefty pitcher vs. a lefty batter matchup in certain game situations.
The Tigers were able to free up a lot of money when they decided to part ways with first basemen Prince Fielder in exchange for second basemen Ian Kinsler. With the money they have saved in return for the power they lost in the lineup, the Tigers need to start spending a lot of that free money on quality relief pitchers