An embarrassment of relief riches
Saturday afternoon, Joe Nathan blew a save and the Tigers lost to the Blue Jays.
I’ll admit right now that I was surprised that Joe Nathan was in a position to blow a save; I’d just assumed that the Tigers had traded for Joakim Soria a few weeks ago because Nathan was struggling and Soria would take over as closer.
This was a faulty assumption. Since joining the Tigers, Soria has pitched in only six games and hasn’t recorded a single save. Also, HE’S BEEN TERRIBLE. In 33⅓ long-play innings with the Rangers, Soria struck out 42 batters and issued only three unintentional walks, didn’t give up a single home run. In just 4⅓ innings with the Tigers, he’s been torched for six runs and a couple of homers.
Also, before today Nathan had been on a really nice run:
Prior to blowing a save today Joe Nathan had a 2.25 ERA, .182 opponents' batting average, and 16 strikeouts in 12 innings since July 1.
— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) August 9, 2014
Here’s the good news for the Tigers, then: Joe Nathan’s back to pitching like himself and Joakim Soria, while probably not nearly as good as he pitched for the Rangers, should come around soon. Joba Chamberlain and Al Alburquerque have both pitched well, too. The Tigers are missing a second reliable lefty in the bullpen — and one might reasonably wonder if Blaine Hardy is a reliable first lefty — but otherwise it seems a potential weakness a few months ago has become a real strength.
Addendum: Well, the news isn’t all good, as Soria suffered an injury during his Saturday appearance.