Detroit Tigers Bullpen strong in May, in good place moving forward

May 9, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Wilson (left) celebrates with catcher James McCann after defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
May 9, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Wilson (left) celebrates with catcher James McCann after defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers
May 20, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Chad Bell (64) pitches in the ninth inning against the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

New Faces

One of the reasons Detroit’s newly-configured bullpen has succeeded is because the team has mixed and matched with different bullpen options.

This has seen the likes of Ryan, Jimenez, Rondon and Cuevas head to Triple-A Toledo, but it has also opened the door for other relievers to make a mark.

Chad Bell—a hard-throwing, 28-year-old southpaw who worked as a starter in the minors—has yet to allow a run in his first 7.2 Major League innings.

Those innings came over the span of four outings, and included six strikeouts compared to just four hits and three walks allowed.

Moving forward, Bell could easily pitch in long relief. However, with the recent addition of Warwick Saupold to the active roster, it’s possible the left-hander could find more work in shorter stints as the second left-hander behind Hardy.

The Proof is in the Pudding

With Justin Wilson, Shane Greene, Alex Wilson, Blaine Hardy and Chad Bell handling the majority of the bullpen work, watching Detroit Tigers relievers pitch late in games has become much less stressful.

Since the beginning of May, the Tigers have the third-lowest WHIP among bullpens in the league.

Detroit’s relief pitchers also rank third in walk percentage, eighth in xFIP, 10th in SIERA and 11th in strikeout percentage.

These are marked improvements over April, when the Tigers ranked last in WHIP, owned the third-highest walk percentage and finished with the highest xFIP and the seventh-highest SIERA.