Detroit Tigers bullpen has struggled to begin the 2021 campaign

(Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)
(Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Tigers have gotten through over ten games of their 2021 season, and one thing has not changed in the slightest; the bullpen. Fans of the organization have come to grips with the fact that the Tigers bullpen is going to be a worrisome group, and frankly, it has been for some time now.

But, early on in the 2021 season, the bullpen is atrocious, and the two players possessing ERA’s of 0.00 are Alex Lange, who just made his MLB debut, and Harold Castro. Yes, you read that right. While Michael Fulmer carries a 2.57 ERA, he is shifting back into the Detroit Tigers rotation.

Closer Gregory Soto seems to have a handle on things, maybe not the best handle, but he has struck out seven of 5.2 innings of work with a win and a save while featuring a 3.18 ERA. Overall though, the bullpen is carrying a combined ERA of 6.75 this early in the season. (This figure only factors in players who have not made a start during the 2021 season)

This number is horrible to be seeing from the bullpen. Even on a rebuilding team, the hope would be that there are some arms who can come in and get the job done, and it frankly seems as if anyone who gets brought in is likely going to get tabbed for a few baserunners and threaten to score at a minimum.

The Detroit Tigers bullpen has been problematic to start the 2021 season.

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Coming into the 2021 season, it seemed like the Tigers backend was going to be a revolving door. While this does not mean a lockdown group, there were a few players that were expected to contribute in the Tigers bullpen efforts.

Even Buck Farmer, who has been a steady and reliable arm for the Tigers, is off to a lackluster start. So far in 2021, Farmer has appeared in four games, totaling five innings of work where he has a 10.80 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP.

He has allowed four hits, including three big flies, while walking four as well. The Tigers’ biggest issue has been the long ball.

In a year where the baseball was supposed to be deadened to decrease the number of big flies, it does not entirely seem like that early on.

As a pitching staff, the Tigers have given up eighteen home runs so far; thirteen of them have come from the bullpen arms. Something has to change. Of the 54 runs that the Tigers have given up in 2021, 34 of them have been courtesy of the bullpen.

The Tigers’ new pitching coach, Chris Fetter, was away from the team to start the 2021 season, but could his absence due to COVID-19 protocols have played that large of a role in this struggle? Either way, something needs to change, and Fetter should be able to right the ship.

As the season continues on, I would expect things to even out and for the ship to stop sinking. Not to say our bullpen will become some lockdown force, but players like Farmer having a 10.80 ERA or Daniel Norris having a 10.38 ERA need to see change.

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While this is not the start the Tigers would have hoped for out of their bullpen, even in a rebuild, there is hope that things will level off eventually.