July 24th, 2014 at 8:12 AM
By Max DeMara
In need of relief help at the back end of a shaky bullpen, the Detroit Tigers struck a deal Wednesday night, trading for Joakim Soria of the Texas Rangers.
Going the other way in the deal are reliever Corey Knebel and pitcher Jake Thompson, both natives of Texas. Knebel had been with the Tigers briefly during May and June, and Thompson just won the futures game while pitching for Single-A Lakeland. Each have posted decent statistics, with Knebel maintaining a 6.76 ERA and collecting eight major league strikeouts, and Thompson going 6-4 with a 3.14 ERA before being moved to Double-A Erie.
In any situation like this, the move made is about the present. Soria's electric statistics in 2014—which include a 2.70 ERA, 42 strikeouts to only four walks and no home runs in 33 1/3 innings—will help Detroit immensely. Save for Joba Chamberlain, the Tigers have struggled with walks and home runs in late innings, and have the fifth-worst bullpen in baseball with an ugly 4.36 ERA.Read more... Join the Conversation...
July 23rd, 2014 at 10:27 AM
By Max DeMara
Tuesday, the surging Austin Jackson didn't do anything to hurt his chances of staying in the leadoff spot atop the Detroit Tigers' order.
Jackson was 2-5 with two runs scored in the midst of Detroit's 5-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks, which was driven by another bullpen meltdown and the inability of the Tigers to add runs late with multiple runners on base.
None of that was Jackson's problem, though. Detroit's center fielder quietly continued to do everything his team needs him for, including getting on base and setting the tone early in the game. On the second pitch, Jackson singled sharply, getting the Tigers off on the right foot.
Since last season, there's been great debate about what to do with Jackson in the order. He struggled to hit leadoff at times, and a move down the order in the playoffs sparked some decent results. After moving around again, Jackson has seized the role. Don't look now, but his batting average is climbing again, hovering at .268 as of this morning. The power numbers are even returning, with Jackson hitting a home run on Monday.Read more... Join the Conversation...
July 22nd, 2014 at 2:07 PM
By Max DeMara
Another day brings another round of trade rumors pertaining to the Detroit Tigers and their quest for additions, specifically to an often shaky bullpen.
Lately, though, while the team remains interested in names such as Joaquin Benoit and Joakim Soria, they seem to be shifting thoughts to another National League team who might have some different arms to offer.
The Philadelphia Phillies are falling further behind in the East Division race. As they do, their plethora of capable bullpen arms might become available. Monday reports from Fox Sports' Jon Morosi had the Tigers keeping tabs on lefty Antonio Bastardo in addition to closer Jonathan Papelbon.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports took things a step further, suggesting that the Phillies and Tigers should hook up for a trade involving Jimmy Rollins and Papelbon, with both going to Detroit with cash for prospects. The move, Heyman notes, would allow the Tigers to fix both their bullpen and add a left handed hitter to a periodically inconsistent lineup at the same time. Read more... Join the Conversation...
July 22nd, 2014 at 11:16 AM
By Max DeMara
Early Tuesday morning, in the midst of what would become the Detroit Tigers' 4-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, Joe Nathan was at it again.
No, the closer didn't have a meltdown. Yes, his inning of work was solid, but in the process of collecting his 20th save of the season, Nathan proved again why the Tigers should be seeking out someone with some type of experience shutting down games to help pitch in down the stretch.
Continuing on a theme from Detroit's most recent home stand, Nathan raced ahead of the game by getting the first two batters of the inning out. Then, he allowed solid contact on a pinch hit single before getting the final out of the game on a screamer down the first base line.
Nathan did record the final out and get the save, but in the process, he allowed the Diamondbacks to enter themselves back in the discussion to tie or even win a close game. No closer will ever have a perfect ninth inning consistently, but Nathan's constant recent inability to bear down with two outs is proving ever-dangerous to Detroit's cause late.Read more... Join the Conversation...
July 21st, 2014 at 9:00 AM
By Max DeMara
Following Sunday afternoon's important 5-1 win over the Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers' manager Brad Ausmus didn't exactly want to go there. Or couldn't. Or didn't know how to do so properly.
When asked if the results of Detroit's win, an outing eerily similar to the team's 2-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals just a month ago could matter similarly, Ausmus was noncommittal with a head shake and a simple answer. The Tigers, of course, sustained a similar disaster losing three in a row to the Royals, but used a win on getaway day to catapult a six game winning streak which propelled them back safely on top of the Central Division.
The in-game results were similar. After struggling to do anything in three games offensively or on the mound against Kansas City, the Tigers got both elements in gear at the same time, getting a clutch home run from J.D. Martinez. Joe Nathan even pitched a clean ninth, and Anibal Sanchez had a quality start. This month, swap the names Martinez and Sanchez for Torii Hunter and Drew Smyly, and it's nearly the same exact story.Read more... Join the Conversation...