On Tuesday, the Detroit Tigers took on the Chicago White Sox in Game 1 of a three-game set, and saw more of the same out of their bullpen. The bullpen’s struggles were highlighted by the newly-acquired Joakim Soria, who was making just his second appearance since coming over from the Texas Rangers.
Soria relieved starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez in the top of the seventh inning, and at the time, the score was 3-2. However, Soria would proceed to give up six hits, including two home runs, and would record only one out. He left the game with the Tigers trailing 9-2, and they would eventually go on to lose the contest by a score of 11-4.
According to ESPN.com, Tigers relievers now have a bloated ERA of 4.48, which is 28th in MLB, and trailing only the Houston Astros for the worst in the AL. Moreover, Tigers relievers have a BAA of .277, which is dead last in the AL, and trailing only the Colorado Rockies for the worst in baseball. They are tied with the Rockies for the worst WHIP in all of baseball at 1.46.
Detroit is a team that has aspirations of winning its first World Series in 30 years. But truth be told, the Tigers are not going to get very far in the postseason if their bullpen continues to struggle the way that it has thus far.
Hopefully, Soria can bounce back and still perform for the Tigers like he did with the Rangers. The Tigers gave up two very highly-touted prospects in Corey Knebel and Jake Thompson to bring Soria to Detroit, so needless to say they are expecting him to deliver. Perhaps Soria, who was closing games in Texas, just need a little time to acclimate himself to a setup role.
At any rate, the bullpen remains a serious problem for Detroit, and Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski should be well aware of it. It would hardly be shocking to see him swing a trade for another arm before the non-waiver trading deadline.