The Tigers managed one measly hit on Friday night, so at least the bullpen took the night off from scorn. Joe Nathan has two blown saves and has walked twice as many as he has struck out. His 12.27 ERA is not the worst thanks to Phil Coke's 40.50, or even second worst with Joba Chamberlain at 13.50. Many teams are dealing with bullpen woes, as a look around SB Nation reveals. Two caveats: all stats are as of the start of action on Friday night, and of course the sample sizes are ridiculously small.
The Crawfish Boxes bemoans the bullpen's ERA of 6.55. The sole southpaw has an ERA of 18.00 and a WHIP of 3.00. At this pace Dave Dombrowski will not be repeating the Jose Veras deal in 2014.
Athletics Nation discusses closer by committee with Jim Johnson's demotion. Johnson has two losses, and ERA of 18.90, and WHIP of 4.50. The A's will pay Johnson $10 million this year, equaling Joe Nathan's salary.
Pinstripe Alley considers a possible Yankees' acquisition of Joel Hanrahan given a shallow bullpen. Mariano Rivera's replacement, David Robertson, hit the disabled list and the remaining options are not familiar names.
Purple Row takes a look at movement between the rotation and the bullpen in Colorado, with a bullpen that has been anything but stable. Closer LaTroy Hawkins is 41 years old, making Joe Nathan seem downright youthful.
Bleed Cubbie Blue mourns a loss after the bullpen blows a four run lead. Jose Veras has an ERA of 10.13 with six walks in less than three innings.
Fish Stripes reviews Carlos Marmol's struggles to throw strikes after a blown save, leading to an ERA of 7.20. Steve Cishek has not allowed a run, but has only thrown two innings.
So how will the Tigers fix the ‘pen? Partly by continuing to throw the arms out there, as given more time the pitchers' numbers will move closer to career averages. Joe Nathan's arm will come to life, or he will be shut down. Joba Chamberlain and Phil Coke will find their old form, or they will be gone. Evan Reed's usage will increase, and Luke Putkonen will be remembered. The hot arms in Toledo will be promoted.
Looking further down in the minors, Jordan included Edgar De La Rosa in his season preview of the Lakeland Flying Tigers and noted he could be on the fast track to Detroit. I saw De La Rosa Wednesday night in Lakeland and it was a typical outing for Edgar with lots of hits, few strikeouts, and few walks. But he sure can throw heat, hitting 100 miles per hour on the radar gun. The gun may have been a little hot, but no other pitcher who threw that night was registering above the low 90s. De La Rosa has 73 career minor league starts which have served him well in starting to develop command. The Tigers would do well to quickly groom him for relief, focusing on only one secondary pitch. He is the longest of long shots to help Detroit in 2014, but the system is not without arms in development.