Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Blaine Hardy is returning to the big league club after a stint with Triple-A Toledo. Kyle Ryan heads in the other direction.
Detroit Tigers reliever Kyle Ryan allowed one hit without recording an out during Thursday’s loss to the New York Yankees. While he wasn’t charged with a run, the hit Ryan allowed was a two-run triple to Jacoby Ellsbury that scored Rob Refsnyder and Aaron Hicks. The two runs essentially won the game for New York.
Ryan’s numbers appear solid at first. His ERA is a respectable 3.10, and his FIP of 3.47 isn’t far behind. However, upon closer examination, there were some glaring numbers.
Left-handed batters have hit an astounding .364 off the 24-year-old, with a .636 slugging percentage. All told, Ryan allowed 10.2 hits per nine innings pitched. Last but not least, the former 12th-round pick only struck out nine batters. The left-hander has never been a big strikeout pitcher (544 in 841.1 innings in both the Majors and minors), but he only struck out nine batters in 20.1 innings pitched. Posting those kind of strikeout numbers going forward probably isn’t going to cut it.
Per Detroit’s official Twitter account, Ryan will be sent to Triple-A.
The Tigers will now turn to a familiar face to fill Ryan’s place in the bullpen.
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Fellow southpaw Blaine Hardy is returning to the club (per the Tigers official Twitter account) after posting stellar numbers with Toledo. Hardy has pitched to a 1.00 ERA in nine innings pitched for the minor-league club, allowing just three hits and a walk while striking out seven.
The former Kansas City farmhand has been solid so far in his career with the Tigers, pitching to a 2.84 ERA (3.21 FIP) in 107.2 innings, spanning parts of three seasons. Hardy has been his dependable self this season, with a 2.45 ERA in 7.1 innings pitched. Those innings have included five strikeouts and just two walks.
Hardy’s Role Moving Forward
As with recent call-up Bobby Parnell, Hardy gives the Tigers another option in the late innings of games. Also like Parnell, Hardy can take pressure off Mark Lowe. The 29-year-old could easily slot in as Detroit’s seventh inning option in place of a struggling Lowe while Justin Wilson handles the eighth inning.
This would allow the Tigers to ease Lowe back into high-pressure situations while improving the team’s overall depth this season.
Given the success Hardy has had so far at the Major League level, it would be a surprise to see him sent down again. The Tigers need all hands on deck to make a playoff push, and Blaine Hardy represents one of the team’s better relief options.
Ryan’s Role Moving Forward
Circling back to Ryan, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him back in a Tigers uniform at some point before all is said and done this season.
The left-hander has posted solid numbers so far this season, and if he can start getting left-handed batters out more (while also slightly improving his strikeout numbers), he would make for a useful depth piece down the stretch.