Searching for answers in their bullpen, the Detroit Tigers recalled left-handed relief pitcher Blaine Hardy from Triple-A Toledo on Thursday. In a corresponding move, the Tigers also demoted right-hander Warwick Saupold to Triple-A.
Hardy pitched in the opening series of the season against the Chicago White Sox, throwing a perfect inning. He retired all 3 batters he faced and struck out 2. Shortly thereafter, Detroit optioned him to Toledo.
The 30-year-old debut with the Tigers in 2014. In his four-year career, he is 8-4 with a 2.98 ERA, 1.370 WHIP and 108 strikeouts in 127.0 innings. All 130 appearances he’s made at the MLB level have come out of the bullpen.
The most work he received in one season with Detroit was back in 2015 when he pitched in 70 games and posted a 3.08 ERA. Last season, Hardy went 1-0 with a 3.51 ERA and 1.442 WHIP in 25.2 frames over 21 appearances.
At Triple-A, Hardy has dominated, posting a 3-0 record, 1.23 ERA and 0.682 WHIP with seven punchouts in 7.1 innings. He’s earned himself another crack at the major league level.
Saupold made his Tigers debut last season, but posted a 7.45 ERA in six games. He pitched well Tuesday in his season debut, but Thursday afternoon versus Tampa Bay, he yielded 3 home runs in 3.1 innings. The loss Thursday completed a three-game sweep in St. Petersburg.
It seems like every year the Tigers struggle to put together a quality bullpen, and this season is no different. Heading into Thursday, Detroit relievers owned a 6.75 ERA, which was dead least in the MLB. After Saupold’s performance, that ERA is only going to increase.