Detroit Tigers News: Searching for Pitching Depth


As we enter the final seven days of June, the Detroit Tigers find their pitching situation somewhat in flux. Will they be able to find internal solutions to steady the ship? Will they need to find a trade partner ahead of the July 31 trade deadline to patch a hole?

These are the questions they must answer over the next month as they head into the stretch run of the MLB season.

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Matt Pelc looked back at the last week of action at Motor City Bengals and called out five players as “zeros and heros” of the week. Making the “zeros” list were three members of the bullpen, including closer Joakim Soria.

"Soria has allowed a homer in each of his last four outings (including Monday’s game which doesn’t technically count in last week’s tally), two of those came in garbage time, June 14 vs Cleveland and Sunday against the Yankees, but the one against the Reds ended the game in extra innings on a Grand Slam."

The Tigers don’t seem to be concerned about Soria, however (or at least they’re not letting on if they are). According to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News, the organization is still seeing good “stuff” out of their closer and are not worried.

"“We still have a ton of confidence in Joakim Soria,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “I am not worried about him.”…“His stuff is still good,” [pitching coach Jeff] Jones said. “The last couple he’s just missed his location.”"

One player who could help solidify the back end of the Tigers bullpen is the hard-throwing Bruce Rondon. Rondon missed all of the 2014 season and the beginning of the 2015 season after having Tommy John surgery to repair an elbow ligament. In his weekly minor league roundup, James Schmehl of MLive notes that Rondon’s results have been improving in Toledo as he works toward rejoining the big league roster.

"Bruce Rondon (2-2, 7.71 ERA) converted his first save for the Mud Hens on Saturday when he worked a scoreless ninth inning. Rondon hasn’t allowed a run to score in his last four appearances"

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But the Tigers will apparently be turning to another minor league player to give them innings before they can get Rondon back. According to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, Buck Farmer will be called up to join the big club before Wednesday’s game, though it’s not clear who’s roster spot he will be taking.

"The Detroit Tigers are expected to recall the right-hander from Triple-A Toledo before Wednesday’s series finale against the Cleveland Indians, according to a person with knowledge of the situation but requested anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the call-up."

Over at Bless You Boys, Rob Rogacki looked ahead to the trade deadline and identified four potential areas of need. Unsurprisingly, starting pitching and relief pitching make up two of the four.

"Starting pitcherWhile it may not be the easiest position to upgrade, it is probably the one most likely to receive attention from the Tigers’ brass. Shane Greene has struggled so far in the major leagues, and he left his last start with the Toledo Mud Hens early due to a hand injury. Alfredo Simon has pitched at a high level so far this season, but he did the same thing last year with the Cincinnati Reds before falling back to earth in the second half. Finding an upgrade over Greene is arguably the most glaring need the Tigers have this July."

Next: Detroit Tigers Should Consider Selling at the Deadline

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