Winner: Drew VerHagen
For all the worry that came about after Francisco Rodriguez’ blown save on Opening Day, the Detroit bullpen has been quietly effective since.
However, the big winner where the relief pitchers were concerned was Drew VerHagen.
The right-handed reliever probably would have still made the team if injuries didn’t force Blaine Hardy and Alex Wilson to miss time, but the two injuries have opened the door to more opportunities for VerHagen.
Brad Ausmus has so far leaned on the Vanderbilt product, using him in three games. VerHagen has rewarded the manager’s faith in him with a trio of solid performances.
The reliever has yet to allow a run in three innings, and has only been tagged for two hits and a walk where base runners are concerned. The 25-year-old also has a strikeout and one of the team’s three wins.
VerHagen was particularly effective against the Marlins in the opening series. The righty faced Giancarlo Stanton twice in tense situations, and in both instances he got the slugger to strike out.
If he continues to pitch at this level, he’ll give the Tigers yet another weapon out of a suddenly solid bullpen. Once Hardy and Wilson are healthy, look out.