Al Avila's main goal this offseason was to find some help for a beleaguered bullpen, that quite honestly, resembled a shooting gallery last season. Francisco Rodriquez got all of the press, (that happens when you are the all time active saves leader) but Justin Wilson and Mark Lowe have been as good as advertised.
The Tigers pen last season posted a bloated ERA of 4.38 last season. Only the Oakland Athletics had a scarier number. This year, albeit through only 11 games, that number has shrunk to 3.06. Why? Mainly because of Justin Wilson and Mark Lowe.
When the Tigers faced the Yankees last season, they trotted Wilson to of the back end of their bullpen and he opened some eyes. Namely mine. "Wow, I wish we had this guy," I thought to myself. A lefty who can throw 97 MPH. Dreams do come true I suppose, because Avila traded for Wilson this winter. Bingo, the 7th inning is taken care of.
Mark Lowe joined the Tigers as a free agent just one day earlier to pitch the 8th and presto, the Tigers had completed a bullpen facelift that would make Joan Rivers proud.
The return of Alex Wilson, who threw an inning and a third of scoreless baseball in Houston on Sunday, and Drew Verhagen's continued progress has given the Tigers a formidable bullpen. With Blaine Hardy's return expected soon, Brad Ausmus will feel like a kid in a candy store.
Nothing will turn your hair gray quicker than a leaky bullpen, but this season, the Tigers seem to have gotten it right.