Detroit Tigers: Last Week’s 5 Heroes and Zeroes
By Matt Pelc
Apr 15, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joakim Soria pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Tigers won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
#1 Hero: Joakim Soria
How do you like those 1-2-3 innings in the ninth inning, Detroit Tigers’ fans? Here’s something you will not believe: 1-2-3 innings from closers is supposed to be the norm, not a sporadic occasion that we’ve seen here from Joe Nathan, Jose Valverde, Todd Jones, Fernando Rodney…etc, etc. etc.
We could really go back into the 1980’s to find a consistent, lock down closer. Yes, Valverde was 52 for 52 in 2011’s regular and postseason, but 1-2-3, stress-free innings were still rare for him.
Soria appeared in three games last week, pitching three perfect innings. He picked up two saves and a win when he held Chicago’s bats in check to allow the Tigers to walk-off in Friday’s ninth inning. He also picked up another save in 1-2-3 fashion to open this week in style on Monday night.
Here’s the crazy thing–next week at this time, Soria may not even be the closer anymore!
Whether you want him or not, Joe Nathan is getting close to coming back, and even after Soria’s success last week, manager Brad Ausmus said Nathan would “probably” be the closer when healthy. Of course that was two saves and win ago. It would be extremely tough to remove Soria from this role after his success.
That said, it could still happen, but let’s hope the team sees the light and keeps the #1 Tigers hero in the place he can best serve them.