A sign of progress.
Tigers 4, White Sox 1
Now a simple 4-1 win on getaway day might not get anyone that excited, especially after such an ugly loss on Wednesday, but there was one big thing that happened on Thursday that you can’ ignore. Granted, Kyle Lobstein (5 GS, 33 IP, 3.00 ERA, 3.23 FIP) had a terrific day and the bats tacked some runs on against the Sox, but the story of this game was Brad Ausmus learning his lesson and going to his best reliever with four outs left in the game. Ausmus is a huge fan of the three inning save, but the Tigers don’t have a lot of good relievers and four outs is not really much harder than getting three. The best part is that Soria struck out every batter he faced, providing Ausmus with some much needed positive reinforcement. Hopefully, this will become a trend. Although if David Price (6 GS, 40 IP, 2.93 ERA, 3.01 FIP) has anything to say about it, Soria won’t be needed Friday against the Royals.
The Moment: Joakim Soria struts in to get the final four outs.
I’m not so crazy about using Soria for a four-out save with a three run lead, especially with the Royals looming. If the Tigers approach the rest of the season with the attitude that they only have one relief pitcher that can get somebody out, Soria’s arm is going to fall off before the Fourth of July. The Tigers’ bullpen has actually been pretty effective in recent days, with the notable exceptions of Al Al and Joba. Nesbitt looks like he can pitch, Wilson has done fine recently, and a couple of the lefties have been decent. There has to be a middle ground between pitching Soria to death and leaving Joba in to preside over a cataclysmic conflagration when he clearly doesn’t have it. As I see it, Ausmus’s job now is to find some other guys who can play a defined role in relief, and the 8th inning yesterday would have been a good place to start.