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Tigers demote Al Alburquerque to Triple-A despite 3.14 ERA

May 16, 2013, 12:46 PM EDT

Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Al Alburquerque reacts after called for a balk which scored New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez during the fifth inning of Game 4 in their MLB  American League Division Series baseball playoffs in Detroit Reuters

Al Alburquerque has pitched well for the Tigers this season, posting a 3.14 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 14.1 innings, but his control has been an issue with 13 walks and after three straight outings allowing a run they’ve sent the right-hander back to Triple-A.

Spotty control is nothing new for Alburquerque, but his amazing bat-missing ability has always been enough to make up for it. He has a 1.90 ERA and 14.1 strikeouts per nine innings in 64 career appearances, so the demotion is certainly an eyebrow raiser.

No doubt manager Jim Leyland and company just got sick of watching him walk nine batters in his last six appearances, but Alburquerque against Triple-A hitters will just be unfair.

  1. historiophiliac - May 16, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    Leyland’s post-game comments yesterday clearly indicated that he was not happy w/ Al Al — too many walks and then you can’t use V-Wiggles b/c the game is tied up. Still, we do this back and forth thing a lot. He’ll probably return shortly.

    • detroitr1 - May 16, 2013 at 1:08 PM

      Can you page Old Gator to give us a scouting report on Evan Reed? I guess he was a Marlin or a Feesh or whatever they’re called.

      • historiophiliac - May 16, 2013 at 1:14 PM

        You probably don’t wanna look.

    • witeman10 - May 16, 2013 at 2:02 PM

      yea im pretty sure he’ll be back soon. this seems pretty clear that leyland is just trying to send a message to Al Al about the walks. they can tolerate some, but 9 in 6 outings is ridiculous.

      i just hope he learns how to control better. i do wonder tho cuz one of the reasons he walks so many people is his slider has soooooo much movement. yes, it is possible to have too much movement. his slider breaks so much it sometimes ends up closer to a different time zone than it does to the strike zone.

  2. Liam - May 16, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    “Who?”

    -Mike Francessa

  3. tycobbfromfangraphs - May 16, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    He better not be there long, and Leyland better have Papa Grande (hot-mess-waiting-to-happen) on a short leash if he’s going to demote Al for a rough patch. Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesus the Tigers need a reliable arm in the bullpen.

  4. bluesnats - May 16, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    13 walks, 6 wild pitches sound a lot more damning than his ERA is encouraging.

  5. jonrox - May 16, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    Holy 1.8 WHIP, Batman

  6. sandrafluke2012 - May 16, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    HAS ANY PITCHER STARTED THEIR CAREER WITHOUT ALLOWING A HOMERUN THIS LONG? Al’s first X number of batters haven’t hit one

    • kalinedrive - May 16, 2013 at 5:25 PM

      X = 304

      • frank433 - May 16, 2013 at 6:06 PM

        X=ALDS vs Yankees.

  7. kalinedrive - May 16, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    I would be interested in seeing what percentage of his strikes are swinging, because the ball does end up low and away so often that when batters just lay off pitches they are usually balls. If they’re patient and he can’t entice a swing, they walk. Maybe he needs more confidence to actually throw strikes, or maybe he’s only effective when they swing and miss at the slider in the dirt.

  8. joerymi - May 16, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    With a slight improvement in control consistancy, he can easily be one of the better relief pitchers in the game. But the worst thing you can have from a relief guy is the knowledge that you have no idea what you will get game-to-game.

    Sometimes these demotions can light a fire or allow for some teaking. Max Sherzer in 2010 is a nice example.

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