Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 6/14/12

Al Alburquerque is on the disabled list, but Brayan Villarreal is filling his role nicely for the Detroit Tigers.

Villarreal is doing what Alburquerque did so well last year, coming in at some point between the fifth and seventh innings and shutting things down.

Villarreal entered in the sixth Wednesday with Detroit having rallied from a 4-1 deficit against the Chicago Cubs with four runs in the fifth. He retired all six batters he faced, half on strikeouts, helping the Tigers emerge with an 8-4 win.

Since coming up to Detroit for the third time this season on May 17, Villarreal has made 12 appearances totaling 15 innings, and he's allowed just nine hits. He has given up four runs (three earned) and struck out 26.

Six of those appearances have been one inning or more, somewhat similar to how Alburquerque was used last year.

"He's a perfect example of when you bring a kid up like we did last year and he made the team, he was too antsy," manager Jim Leyland said. "He didn't know how to settle down, didn't know how to back off. The first time around this year, he was still a little hyper.

"I think Jonesy (pitching coach Jeff Jones) has done a good job with him, our minor league people done a good job with him. They've kind of settled him down a little bit so he's not on fast forward all the time."

Villarreal doesn't quite have the wipeout slider Alburquerque displayed, but it's pretty good and its improved consistency is a big factor in his success.

Having Villarreal, plus Duane Below, settling down the middle innings is having a calming effect on the bullpen.

Before Villarreal came back the third time, the Detroit bullpen had a 5.17 ERA.

Since May 17, it's been 2.25.

Recent success in the eighth and ninth innings by Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde have been a big factor, too.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Best and worst from NBA All-Star Saturday night

WATCH: Klay Thompson can't go home unless he beats Steph Curry in 3-Point contest

Star players are hurting Houston Rockets

Emmitt Smith: Adrian Peterson only current player who could break rushing record

Coach K gets buzzer-beater win over Virginia for his birthday

Baylor approves new measures to deal with sexual assault

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Joe Mauer: Concussions blurred vision, affected hitting

LeBron James says Kevin Love-Celtics trade rumor is false

Michael Jordan gifts Kobe Bryant full set of Air Jordans

Bethune-Cookman football player killed at party

Former UFC heavyweight Kevin Randleman dead at 44

WATCH: Chelsea scores three goals in less than 20 minutes

LaVine, Gordon put on best NBA dunk contest in years

WATCH: Thompson beats teammate Curry in 3-point contest

NFL teams, players hand out awesome Valentines

Earl Campbell ‘disappointed’ in Johnny Manziel, wants to help

Big man Karl-Anthony Towns wins NBA skills challenge

MLB commish: Cubs will host All-Star Game in near future

WATCH: Memphis forward recreates Vince Carter's elbow dunk in game

Bruins forward is goal scoring machine after suspension

Michael Jordan gives Kobe Bryant complete set of Air Jordans

Drake has Kentucky edition of custom ‘OVO’ Air Jordan 8s

QUIZ: Name every NBA All-Star Game MVP

Watch rare footage of Stephen Curry from 2001-02 emerges

Check out this custom camouflage Oregon helmet

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker