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Eric Chase Blog

Tigers Bullpen. Excel or Execution.

 
Posted May 1st, 2014 @ 3:33pm

You're aware the Tigers bullpen is as problematic as it's been in years. Just how bad is it? They've got an ERA of 5.37. 

The starters come in with an ERA of 2.98, 2nd in the AL. The overall team ERA is 3.79. 

As the team is presently constructed from roster spot through 25 - and barring no catastrophic injuries to key players - are the Tigers capable of getting into the playoffs?

Yes.

Though this season could be more tense than 2012, and further contested by more than one team, as it was only the White Sox that year. Now, up to three teams could be harassing the Tigers for the Central deep into the season. 

I think we understand by now that once the playoffs arrive, and if you're not subjected to the wild card game, the favorite isn't a sure thing to cruise through their league. MLB's postseason isn't a complete crap shoot, but October is as optimal a time as any for a passable reliever to experience a Mario-styled power up, or/AND for an unassuming position player to assume a more potent and counted upon role in the lineup. 

If somehow the 17 position players and Joe Nathan can stave off being sabotaged by their scourge of a bullpen and the Tigers get to October, does anyone believe the 'pen as currently constructed can pitch to a level that doesn't get the Tigers run out of October in 5 games or less? Probably not. 

But then again, teams a transform from now till then as weapons emerge like Boston's Koji Uehara last year and Sergio Romo in '12 with a .88 ERA in the postseason. Of course others arise like Octavio Dotel, and lefty specialist Arhur Rhodes for the Cardinals in '11. The Yankees had Mo in '09, but Joba Chamberlain was stout and I know your don't recall Damaso Marte's contributions. 

Whether we uncover a conclusive number to seek in the postseason or not, let's see how the rotations and staffs of the last five World Series winners have fared in the regular season and then in the playoffs. 

YEAR TEAM REG. SEASON ERA SP POSTSEASON ERA SP REG. SEASON RP POSTSEASON RP
'13 Red Sox 3.79 2.59 3.70 1.28
'12 Giants 3.68 2.88 3.56 2.35
'11 Cardinals 3.74 4.05 3.73 3.31
'10 Giants 3.36 2.47 2.99 3.05
'09 Yankees 4.26 3.26 3.91 2.91

Any conclusions at all? Meh. 

Duh might be more appropriate than meh. 

Overall, your pitching MUST be better in October, even when you're facing supposedly better lineups than through the first 162. 

From 162 to October those five winners' overall ERA dropped .72.

From 162 to October those five winners' relievers' ERA dropped 1.00. 

Small sample? Maybe, but this whole exercise was really just to gather some statistics to at least consider. 

The question that will remain for the Tigers as the season progresses, hopefully through October, is do they have players - possibly not even on the roster now (cough, cough Corey Knebel) - who can aid in morphing a terrible bullpen into even just adequate enough to ensure the Tigers relievers don't cripple their October chances, and what you may even say, is a slowly fading window of opportunity. 

*UPDATE* TIGERS SIGN HANRAHAN. CAN'T BE ANY WORSE. #analysis.

Further media of the Tigers bullpen.

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