Tim Byrdak adds to Tigers bullpen worries (UPDATED: Byrdak Released)

Tiger lefty reliever Tim Byrdak had yet another rough outing in a string of rough outings this spring. With the Tiger bullpen posing the largest hole to the team for this season, Tim is certainly doing nothing to instill confidence, though he seems to still have Jim Leylands confidence.

Reading through the article from the Detroit News did nothing to explain away the struggles that Byrdak has gone through. At least if he explained how Byrdak was working on a specific pitch or his mechanics were off or anything that can be readily fixed I’d feel much better. However, this was the best that Jim could muster:

“I just think he’s pressing. You can see it. He threw a lot of balls down that weren’t bad pitches, but were too far down.

“I think a lot of times when guys struggle like that, they want to see the result before they throw the pitch. That’s all I told him when I first went to the mound. Slow things down a little bit.

If Leyland believes there is no worry here and this funk is something that Tim will break out of then I can only take his word. However Byrdak has had a hard time returning to his 2007 form all spring. Below is a game-by-game log of his last 5 outings which covers half of spring.

March 25 0 1 3 3 4 0 0
March 23 1 2 2 2 2 1 0
March 18 1 6 6 6 1 1 2
March 15 1 1 0 0 0 1 0
March 12 2 3 1 1 0 1 0

This just isn’t good enough and in the regular season amounts to at least two losses.

The 2007 season can only be explained as a breakout year for Tim. His stats from previous years showed no indications that he would perform to the level that he did. Before the season he was dealing with a hurt elbow before being cut by the Orioles and subsequently picked up by the Tigers. The big question is: Can he produce again?

Surprisingly, PECOTA (subscription) doesn’t see a massive regression though far from his 3.20 ERA from 2007 with a projected 4.49 ERA. Other projections aren’t far off either ranging from a 4.10 ERA (MINER) to 4.69 (MARCEL) with him keeping a similar BB/9 and HR/9. Whatever his problem, Detroit needs to figure out whether he will produce.. and fast.

– Wow, minutes after I write this Tim Byrdak was released by the team. This mornings paper had quotes (linked below) from Leyland emphatically stating that Byrdak was part of this team and only hours later he is released. This reminded me of other conflicting stories last week pointed out by Kurt @ Mack Ave Tigers.

Dave Dombrowski had to make a move and we can speculate for now if this move precedes an upcoming trade:

“For us, it was a matter of making a decision today,” said Dombrowski, whose team must finalize its 25-man roster ahead of breaking camp Thursday and preparing for Monday’s season opener against Kansas City at Comerica Park.

“We just didn’t feel comfortable that he could help our big-league club. Last night didn’t help his chances.”

Let’s hope there is some help on the way.

In other news:

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2 Responses to Tim Byrdak adds to Tigers bullpen worries (UPDATED: Byrdak Released)

  1. Blake says:

    I did what you did, I started writing about Byrdak struggling and then saw that he was released. Good times.

  2. Eric Jackson says:

    Ya, quite annoying :) But glad to see it happen as I was very surprised by Leylands support.

    Maybe Dave talked some sense into him?

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