Former Tigers reliever’s meltdown for Braves has Detroit fans thankful he’s gone

Apr 16, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Joe Jimenez (77) delivers a pitch
Apr 16, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Joe Jimenez (77) delivers a pitch / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Braves reliever Joe Jiménez spent most of the first six years of his career as a member of the Detroit Tigers. So Tigers fans have a little bit of an idea what Braves fans felt Monday afternoon.

Jiménez took the mound against the Padres with a healthy 5-2 lead in the eighth, but it didn't stay that way for long. Three of the first San Diego players to step to the plate reached base. A single by Jake Cronenworth and a double by Manny Machado later, the lead was no more.

The Friars held on after that for the 6-5 win.

Joe Jiménez wasn't particularly notable for Tigers

Of course we know any reliever can have a bad game here or there.

While Jiménez had been enjoying a career refresh with the Braves after being traded to them in December of 2022, it's important for Tigers fans to remember what kind of player he was in Detroit.

In 297 games, he put up an ERA of 5.24. In 34 save opportunities, he made 20 saves but blew 14 of them for 58% success rate. Out of 89 runners inherited, 37 of them (42%) scored. Finally, the big picture: he made 20 wins in relief while suffering 22 losses in relief. His WAR in Detroit was -0.8.

You can keep digging into Baseball Reference if you want, but summed up: That's not a particularly success time in the Old English D.

If anything is a surprise, it's really that he has been as successful as he has in Atlanta.

As for the other half of the trade: OF/3B Justyn-Henry Malloy is sixth in MLB Pipeline's ranking for Detroit with a .906 OPS in Triple-A Toledo right now.

Tigers relievers having a good season

While the Tigers relievers have taken a lump themselves here or there, the big picture is that the bullpen has been doing pretty well.

As a group, they have a 3.10 ERA and opposing batters are hitting .217/.297/.320 off them for a .617 OPS. Only 28% of inherited runners have scored.

Finally, they rank fifth in MLB (third in the AL) in ERA-, where ERA is adjusted for park and league factors.

It's great that Jiménez has gone on to find some success (at least before Monday) elsewhere, but truly best for the Tigers that they've moved on as

Editior's note: Corrected blown saves from his Tigers career.