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Detroit Tigers Links: The bullpen is still bad


MLB: Detroit Tigers at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It happened again

I’m so sick of talking about the bullpen. But they continue to allow runs in droves, so here we are again. Hell, even when the Detroit Tigers are scoring 19 runs in a game, the bullpen is still a topic of conversation.

Today’s spotlight is on Francisco Rodriguez, who has been particularly Not Good.

The talk of Justin Wilson taking over the closer spot will heat up, but he is just about the only reliever who is pitching well right now. It doesn’t matter who is closing if you can only reliably bring in one guy.

The now obligatory “When will Anibal Sanchez get released?” section

The Anibal Sanchez release debate rages on. After another poor performance on Wednesday night — where Sanchez gave up three earned runs over four innings and actually lowered his ERA — there seems to be little doubt about Sanchez’s future. Manager Brad Ausmus continues to do his best to put a positive spin on it.

“I know he struggled at times but I also thought he did some things (Wednesday) night pretty well,” Brad Ausmus told the Jamie and Stoney Show on 97.1 The Ticket. “He did get some strikeouts, he did throw strikes, which we’ve had trouble doing out of the bullpen at times. So you do need a guy like that in the bullpen.”

Throwing strikes are less important when they immediately depart the ballpark, but you can’t blame him for trying to up Anibal’s confidence. The Tigers continue to use the wait-and-see approach by using Sanchez in blowouts, but that can only last so long.

Pelfrey Back!

Mike Pelfrey will be back in Detroit this weekend, this time pitching for the Chicago White Sox. Pelfrey has had one start with the Sox so far, going 4 13 innings and giving up four runs. Yeah, that’s about right. He shouldn’t expect a warm reception, but again, it wasn’t his fault that the Tigers paid him $16 million to be the below-average pitcher that he has always been.

He will be facing off against Matt Boyd, who actually credits Pelfrey with having a positive influence on him.

"Mike was huge last year in helping me grow as a pitcher," Boyd said. "He was a guy that would take me out on the road, take you to dinner and talk about a start afterward. He was a guy that would keep you humble after a good start, build you up after a bad start. A really great person. It's going to be cool to see him on the other side."

So as long as Matt Boyd has a monster year, we can chalk those sunk millions up as mentoring fees. Totally worth it.

Eric Thames is the highlight of 2017 so far

Simply put, the man cannot be stopped. He has hit 11 home runs already and is hitting .370/489/.904 (!). Absolutely outrageous.

It’s still extremely early, but he is on a pace only seen by Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez in MVP seasons. And he is already getting the Barry Bonds treatment from the fans.

He is also relatively strong.

However, my favorite discovery has to be that he hit so many bombs in Korea that they gave him his own home run theme song. And it is delightful.

This is definitely something that should be incorporated for all Tigers players moving forward.

For your free time

Yoenis Cespedes hurt himself and everyone is sad. Danny Duffy is on a potato. [Ed.: This is a thing.] A hilarious comparison between the Rockies home and away splits and more context for Eric Thames’ mashing. Did you know this is the Orioles’ second best start ever? I did not.

Baseball is awesome