Originally written on Tigers Weblog  |  Last updated 11/15/14

Ah, memories! Doug Fister returned to the place where he began his career, was his usual effective self, and went home without a W, like he had so many times in the employ of Nintendo (a 3.33 2011 ERA was only good enough to get him a 3-12 record).

Implosion may be a fair word for the performance of Dotel last night, and with Valverde struggling, it seems the bullpen has now become a weak spot for the team.  But is it really worse than last season?  In 2011, Jose Valverde’s perfect save record overshadowed the fact that the bullpen as a whole just was not very good (remember Ryan Perry?). In fact the Tiger bullpen ERA was 3.93 last season, good for only 11th best in the AL.  The BP WHIP was 1.392, only better than the Twins.  This season so far the bullpen is giving up runs at the rate of 4.25 (10th), with a WHIP of 1.483 (worst).

So while the bullpen is struggling (it’s the W part of the WHIP that is killing them), it wasn’t exactly a strong point last season, other than Valverde’s stellar, and somewhat lucky performance.  And speaking of Valverde:  so far this season he has appeared in 6 non-save situations, vs only 7 save situations.  With the early season offensive struggles, the fact is that there are just fewer save situations this season than last.  Could the lack of a regular save situation routine be affecting Valverde?

Tonight Justin Verlander takes the mound and says bullpen? What’s that?

***

So let’s take a moment to contemplate the season Ryan Raburn is having.

He doesn’t have enough PAs to qualify for the league leaders, but if he did, he would lead the league in lowest BA, lowest OBP, lowest SLG, and of course lowest OPS.  Among all players with at least 75 PA he is by far the worst at .127 / .192 / .169 / .361, easily outpacing Seattle’s Brendan Ryan (hmm, there’s that name again) at .147 / .272 / .240 / .512, and Chicago’s Brent Morel (.182 / .217 / .205 / .422).

Jim Leyland, however, is sticking with him.  For one thing, he’s due.  For another, Leyland says, “This guy has had a pretty good track record the last two or three years.” Well…depends what you mean by track record.  Raburn has been good late in the season, but dependably bad early.

Ryan Raburn’s May track record:

  • 2010 .115 BA .115 OBP .154 SLG .269 OPS 0 BB 7 K
  • 2011 .113 BA .141 OBP .129 SLG .270 OPS 1 BB 22 K
  • 2012 .059 BA .105 OBP .118 SLB .223 OPS 0 BB 9 K

In 114 May plate appearances since 2010, Raburn has 1 BB and 38 K. Yes, that really is a 38-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio you are seeing.

In other news, Brad Penny cut by Japanese team after one start.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Police: Fire that burned down McClain's home 'suspicious'

Furniture store will refund purchases if OSU wins title

What each NFC team in the hunt should ask for from Santa

Is SI ashamed to mention Jameis Winston on its cover?

Kobe Bryant disappointed Lakers didn't get Rajon Rondo

Niners OT Anthony Davis takes shot at offensive coordinator

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Josh Smith expected to sign with Rockets

Cullen Jenkins unhappy over his roughing the passer fine

Bochy: Peavy trade was best in-season move of 2014

Report: Anderson Varejao out for season with torn Achilles

Kevin Nash arrested after alleged fight with son

Report: Celtics, Cavs discussing three-team trade

Baseball cards: a fan's love for the ultimate stocking stuffer

Packers game is a career defining moment for Stafford

A look inside Jason Grilli's contract with the Braves

10 Week 17 NFL matchups that will impact the playoffs

WATCH: Bahamas Bowl ends on insane Hail Mary play

Mike Yeo slams Wild for not having 'winner's attitude'

Michigan St. QB, Ohio State TE have awkward Twitter exchange

Will FIFA ever care to change?

Top storyline for each NFL Week 17 game

The 40 greatest Christmas-related names in sports

NBA teams rooting for others to win

WATCH: Vlade drains half-court shot, wins $90K for charity

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Police: McClain fire 'suspicious'

10 Week 17 NFL matchups that will impact the playoffs

Bahamas Bowl ends on crazy Hail Mary

49ers OT Davis takes shot at coordinator

Will FIFA ever care to change?

Top storyline for each Week 17 game

40 great Christmas-related sports names

Nick Mangold and dealing with feelings as a sports fan

Ibaka, Aldridge ejected for scuffle

Baseball cards: a fan's love for the ultimate stocking stuffer

Nick Young on Kobe-less win: He needs to pass

NFC playoff picture, Week 17: Division showdowns

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.