The Tigers’ bullpen woes continue

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Joe Nathan was supposed to put an end to the late-inning problems for the Tigers. After a couple of years of dealing with Jose Valverde and moving setup men into the closer’s role, the Tigers said “screw it” this past season and paid out money for a Proven Closer. ™ Except Joe Nathan has been pretty awful and the patchwork in which Brad Ausmus has engaged hasn’t been successful either.

Last night, after Nathan pitched in two consecutive games (and wasn’t all that good in them anyway) Ausmus called on Joba Chamberlain to protect a 3-2 ninth inning lead. It went like this:

  • Brock Holt single;
  • Strikeout;
  • Dustin Pedroia walk;
  • David Ortiz three-run homer which essentially ended the game.

Chamberlain gave up another single after that and the inning could’ve gotten even more out of control if it hadn’t been for a subsequent double play. When it was all said and done, the Tigers ended last night with a bullpen ERA of 4.77 which is the worst in the American League.

Chamberlain had been pretty effective on the year until last night, but performances like that are what give managers pause about putting them in save situations. As do contracts like Nathan’s, for what it’s worth. The idea of just pitching your setup man in the ninth inning a la Joaquin Benoit just presents so many hurdles, real or contrived, just doesn’t come easily to most teams.

Or course, it’s probably worth noting that Joaquin Benoit was pretty darn good last season. Just sayin’!

 

Odúbel Herrera dealing with strained left hamstring

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Phillies center fielder Odúbel Herrera is dealing with a slight strain of his left hamstring, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Herrera apparently had been dealing with some discomfort in that area starting a couple weeks ago and underwent an MRI.

Herrera, 27, is coming off a 2018 season in which he took a step back. He hit slightly below the league average at .255/.310/.420 with 22 home runs and 71 RBI in 597 plate appearances. He is entering the third year of his five-year, $30.5 million contract signed back in December 2016.

Herrera is slated to be the club’s starting center fielder once again. In the event his hamstring issue lingers, Roman Quinn would slide into the starting role. One wonders, though, if a less-than-100-percent Herrera might further entice the Phillies to go after free agent outfielder Bryce Harper.