Mains: The worst bullpen in baseball

From SABR member Rob Mains at Baseball Prospectus on May 15, 2017:

The Tigers’ bullpen allowed a 5.71 ERA through Saturday. That’s bad. It blew eight saves. That’s bad too. It allowed 38 percent of inherited runners to score, which is bad, particularly since it inherited 56 of them (the MLB average is 49). It allowed an .819 OPS, 5.19 FIP, and 5.64 DRA. Let me go through those figures one at a time. They are bad, bad, and bad, respectively.

As a result, Tigers fans are freaking out.

And, to be fair, there’s justification. Last season, the Tigers’ starters had an ERA of 4.25 compared to the major-league average of 4.34. So they were better than average. Do you know the last time the Tigers’ relievers—playing in a relatively weak division, remember—had a better-than-average ERA? It was 2006, when the closer was Todd Jones (hasn’t pitched since 2008) and the primary setup man was Joel Zumaya (hasn’t pitched since 2010, though he’s three years younger than Francisco Rodriguez).This year’s Tigers entered the ninth inning with a lead 20 times through Saturday, and they won only 85 percent of those games. The major-league average is 95 percent.

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Originally published: May 15, 2017. Last Updated: May 15, 2017.