Detroit Tigers: A look back at the bullpen’s performance in 2021

Aug 20, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Detroit Tigers shortstop Zack Short (59) celebrates with relief pitcher Gregory Soto (65) and left fielder Willi Castro (9) and second baseman Jonathan Schoop after a win over Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 20, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Detroit Tigers shortstop Zack Short (59) celebrates with relief pitcher Gregory Soto (65) and left fielder Willi Castro (9) and second baseman Jonathan Schoop after a win over Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers, Joe Jimenez (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

Detroit Tigers RHP Joe Jimenez

There are various moments throughout the season that stand out in your mind. To me, one of them among the bullpen was Joe Jimenez on the road in the series against Oakland. in two games over an inning of work, he walked seven batters with four walks in his first appearance and three in his second.

At that moment, I will be honest, I thought his days wearing a Detroit Tigers uniform were over. His command lacked and he looked lost on the mound.

He didn’t appear again until May 11th against Kansas City in which he allowed three runs but after that, from May 16th until June 4th, which spans eight games and seven innings of work, he allowed one run over three hits, struck out 8 and held batters to a .130 batting average. Granted, his walks were still an issue but it appeared Jimenez was getting back into regular use.

His 11.32 K per 9 actually led the team and what was interesting about his breakdown was he gave up six home runs in 45 innings of work while in 2020, he gave up seven in 22 innings of work.

The walk numbers are still high for Jimenez but one thing is certain, based on his numbers, manager A.J. Hinch used him primarily in low leverage situations which perhaps helped his confidence. He pitched 27.2 innings in low leverage situations and just 3.1 in high leverage situations with 14.1 in medium leverage. That is a manager figuring out Jimenez’s strengths and using him properly.

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