The Detroit Tigers have one of the worst bullpens in all of baseball and for pitcher Joe Nathan who was supposed to be the man who manager Brad Ausmus could count on, the 39-year-old pitcher has been far from reliable.
After last night’s performance against the Tampa Bay Rays in which Nathan gave up a run and left two men on base, I have officially given up on Nathan.
In his last eight appearances, there has been only one time where he has retired the only three batters he has faced. To add onto that, Nathan’s ERA of 5.28 is the highest it’s ever been in his career. These numbers don’t reflect the dominant closer Nathan has been in his career.
I get it, the Tigers won’t make another move or remove his closer status. But how can Ausmus feel comfortable going to a guy that is highly likely to put at least one runner on base? I know Ausmus doesn’t have the best cast to choose from but to think that he doesn’t have anyone better is scary.
A pitcher who I have been impressed with is relief pitcher Blaine Hardy. He has looked better in my opinion in his appearances and the stats back it up. When I watch the film on Hardy, he has shown a tremendous breaking ball that is able to strike out opposing batters consistently. Hardy has racked up 24 strikeouts in 28 innings pitched, has an ERA of 1.93 and has been the most consistent pitcher for the Tigers.
For Nathan, his struggles are not going away. I was one to think that maybe he would be better later on in the season and become more consistent in his closing appearances. I was wrong. While his stats are a little better than they were at the beginning of the season, they are still hard to look at without cringing.
The Tigers are in a bit of a slump right now where they have fallen to second place in the American League Central to the Kansas City Royals and if they plan on finding their way into the playoffs, let alone first place, they will need to start to turn things around in a hurry with just under 40 games left to play, and it will rely highly on Nathan and the bullpen to turn things around.
The Tigers’ signed Nathan to a two-year deal this past offseason.
They may only be wanting Nathan for one.