The Tigers' bullpen situation went from bad to worse during their nineteen inning loss in Toronto on Sunday. Joakim Soria is on the disabled list, while Joba Chamberlain and Al Alburquerque have been used extensively in the last two games, so the Tigers have recalled right-handed relief pitcher Justin Miller and left-hander Ian Krol from Triple-A Toledo to help out their beleaguered bullpen. It was learned earlier that the Tigers will also recall Kevin Whelan from Toledo.
John Wagner of the Toledo Blade broke the news via a triple tweet on Twitter:
BREAKING: Ray & Whelan are NOT only @MudHens about to join #Tigers. Ian Krol & Justin Miller will join team in Pittsburgh Monday. (1 of 3)— JWagnerBlade (@jwagnerblade) August 11, 2014
Here's the trick: Not sure if #Tigers will activate Krol, Miller and/or Whelan Monday. My guess: some mix over next few days. (2 of 3)— JWagnerBlade (@jwagnerblade) August 11, 2014
And finally, I do not know what roster moves #Tigers will make to open 25- and 40-man roster (Whelan) spots for these @MudHens. (3 of 3).— JWagnerBlade (@jwagnerblade) August 11, 2014
Miller and Whelan have been the most effective pitchers in the Mud Hens' bullpen this season. Miller has an ERA of 1.45 and a WHIP of 0.88 in 31 appearances. He doesn't allow many base runners, gives up very few home runs, and maintains a solid strikeout rate. Below are his numbers for 2014 in the minors and with Detroit, as well as his career numbers.
Career minor league stats are for six years through the 2014 season
Miller was up with Detroit once previously this season, appearing in seven games and pitching fairly effectively. The Tigers acquired him in the off season after he was released by the Texas Rangers. He missed the 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery, and naturally struggled the following year, leading to his release. He was very effective prior to his surgery, and has maintained solid numbers both prior to his injury and this season for the Mud Hens.
The Tigers took a chance on Miller and added him to their 40 man roster. He battled for a spot in the bullpen in spring training, but started the season in Toledo. At age 27, his days as a prospect are dwindling, but the numbers are promising enough to warrant some optimism that he can help a beleaguered Tigers' bullpen immediately.
Ian Krol has not pitched particularly well, even in Toledo. In four appearances over 3-2/3 innings, he has allowed five hits, although he has not allowed a walk or a run. One of the trio of call ups likely will return to Toledo when Ray is called up to make a start later in the week.
The Tigers will have to remove one player from the 40 man roster to make room for Kevin Whelan, and one from the major league roster, since they have two open spots due to Sanchez and Soria being placed on the disabled list.