Apr 8, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joba Chamberlain (44) against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
#3 Hero: Joba Chamberlain
Let’s move to the heroes.
Admit it, every time you see Joba Chamberlain warming in the Tigers’ bullpen you start to sweat and/or swear. His track record at the end of last season is not very solid, no doubt. His terrible pitching in the ALDS Game 2 last October resulted in a lethal swing of momentum for the Tigers, who were swept out of the playoffs two days later.
So we can understand the frustration, but while Al-Al, Ian Krol and others have labored to get outs in middle relief, Joba has been solidly reliable. Sure, he was frustratingly inaccurate in Monday’s game, but he escaped with the lead, but bad performance from Joba has been an aberration this year.
Joba appeared in three games last week spanning 2.2 innings and allowed only one base runner. He earned a hold in the 2-1 victory against the Yankees, coming in with runners at the corners and one out, and recorded a quick double-play to end the inning and hand the game to Joakim Soria for another save (Soria was 3-for-3 in save opportunities last week, by the way).
Before Monday night, Chamberlain had seemingly settled in nicely while not having a clearly defined role. He has been used in middle relief and as setup so far this season. With Joe Nathan out for the season, and Soria the new closer, could Joba be the setup man again? He was effective in the first half last year and could be again.
Of course we know he can easily slide back to bad habits, but at least for this past week Joba was a good story for the Tigers.
Next: Sparky Davis