It may be early in the 2020 campaign for the Detroit Tigers, but their 9-6 record is turning some heads just one year after a 114 loss season.
And according to manager Ron Gardenhire, it’s the team’s bullpen that’s made the difference for their winning ways so far.
“Our bullpen’s solid. If we can get to those guys at the end, we have three or four guys that can really shut it down from the sixth inning on,” Gardenhire told the morning show on 97.1 The Ticket. “That’s important. I think that’s kind of the biggest thing we have going on.”
The mix of Tyler Alexander, John Schreiber and Gregory Soto have been a pleasant surprise for Detroit, who’s bullpen hasn’t been their strong suit in recent years.
“The ceiling’s really high, anytime you’re throwing 98 to 100 mph,” Gardenhire said. “(Pitching coach) Rick Anderson’s done a great job with him, starting in spring training, of getting rid of his high leg kick and trying to smooth him out to where he can pound the strike zone, because he misfired an awful lot last year but still had some success. He’s locked in right now — slider, fastball.
“When you throw like he does, and he rushes it up at the hitters, we are saving some of the biggest moments in the visiting team’s lineup for him because he’s that dominant right now.”
Meanwhile, with Buck Farmer on the 10-Day DLL, Gardenhire said that the role for Soto will increase:
“Buck goes down, not too many teams can replace a setup guy,” Gardenhire said. “But we got two to three guys that can actually step in there and pick us up until we get Buck back, and this is one of them. Soto’s unbelievable.”
– – Quotes via Will Burchfield of 97.1 The Ticket Link – –