Over the course of a few hours the Detroit Tigers bullpen situation went from chaotic to organized.
The Detroit Tigers have not made their bullpen rotation official but MLB.com beat writer Jason Beck speculates that Soria will set-up Joe Nathan. A combination that resulted in 26 of Nathan’s 43 saves for the Texas Rangers last season.
Dave Dombrowski confirmed this much Wednesday evening. That’s believed to have been the plan on all the trade discussions the Tigers held on bullpen help this month. While Soria set up for Nathan with good success for 26 appearances last year, Nathan hasn’t had any role but closer over the last 10 years. So for now, if he’s going to have a role, it’s going to be the ninth.
if Nathan can hold down the ninth, is that it allows Chamberlain to enter in the seventh, an inning in which the Tigers’ numbers are almost as ugly as the ninth.
Beck’s point about Joe Nathan filling the other role is key to how the Detroit tigers bullpen set-up. The Tigers may be stuck with Nathan in the closers role considering that has been his specialty iver the last 10 years.
If Joe Nathan can’t close for the Tigers he might end up serving as the clean-up man in blow-outs unless he can find a way to be successful in the 7th or 8th.
With Nathan essentially locked into the closers role and Joakim Soria pegged for the 8th, Joba Chamberlain will pitch the 7th inning. A spot Al Alburquerque has struggled with in recent weeks.
The Tigers hope that Joba Chamberlain can be as effective in the 7th as he has been in the 8th. If he can be then that gives the Tigers more flexibility late in games. If he can’t be effective in the 7th then Dave Dombrowski may need to get another arm prior to the deadline.