Nathan: This isn’t the first time I’ve gone through a funk

Joe Nathan hadn’t said much of anything since his two shaky outings in Oakland, primarily because he hadn’t pitched since then. He was being rested when Joba Chamberlain saved the Tigers’ lone win in Seattle Friday night, and the Tigers didn’t lead Saturday or Sunday.

With the game tied in the ninth, Nathan pitched Tuesday night (sorry, but both Brad Ausmus and Joba Chamberlain said there was never a discussion about him staying in for the ninth). Nathan ended up yielding four of Toronto’s five runs.

Unlike Thursday, Nathan didn’t tell reporters to write what they want. He ended up talking for nearly 10 minutes.

“If you guys got anything for me, bring it on,” he said, “because today was one of those ones where I was definitely at a loss for words.”

Actually, he had quite a few words.

“The results didn’t match the way I threw the baseball,” he said. “I felt like I had a pretty sharp slider. I think a lot of things didn’t go my way that inning. No excuses. I gotta be better. But a lot of bad luck out there, too. But again, I got a loss for this team — that’s the biggest disappointment.”

There was no big home run this time, or even a line drive. In this case, his unraveling came about from two walks and two ground-ball singles. And the leadoff walk to Anthony Gose came after an 0-2 count. Nathan broke down that process”

“The 0-2 pitch was a slider in the dirt. Didn’t go after it, so you work off of that. I think I tried to go with a fastball up after that. It went way up, but it also set up the 2-2.

“I missed with the 2-2. That was the one I really wanted. But again, when it becomes 3-2, I know I can throw a strike pat] 3-2. I’m not worried about a 3-2 count. A lot of guys talk about hitters getting into two-strike counts, and feeling comfortable — kind of like Victor. He’s not afraid to hit with two strikes. I’m not afraid to throw a ball with two strikes, because I know I can throw a strike.

“The 3-2 pitch, everybody’s going to have an opinion on whether it was a ball or a strike. I thought it was a pretty decent pitch. I didn’t get the call, end up walking the guy. Obviously not what you want to do in a tie game, late.”

After that was where Nathan understandably chose his words carefully. When he talked the other day about the line drive to Nick Castellanos in Oakland, it ended up creating a serious stir. He wasn’t going there about his middle infielders in Jose Bautista’s ground ball up the middle with Gose on third base and Jose Reyes on first.

After getting his first out when Melky Cabrera inexplicably swung at the first pitch and popped it up, He got a ground ball. He did not get a double play.

“It’s a tough play,” he said. “It’s one of those plays where, did I make a pitch? Absolutely. Did I get the result I wanted to, a ground ball? Absolutely. But unfortunately, it was put into position where, right into a spot where both fielders were kind of going after it, and I think it got into a spot where it was confusing which one would get it.”

More from Nathan …

  • On struggles getting into his head: “Fortunately, I think I’m past that, to be honest with you. I’m at a point in my career — there are things that can surprise you in this game. I’ve seen a lot. I’m going through a bad stretch right now, but fortunately — I’ve seen a lot of stuff, put up with a lot of things, and have dealt with a lot of stuff, and I know that the important thing is, right now, the most important thing in my mind, and why I came to this baseball club is to be in first place. I can care less if I go out there with an 18 ERA, as long as at the end of the day, we go to the playoffs, and we got a chance to go to the World Series. That’s why I came here.”
  • On getting out of such a skid: “This isn’t the first time I’ve gone through a funk and come out the other end. I’ve dealt with two injuries. I’ve pitched much worse than this, trust me. I’ve pitched much worse than this in Triple-A, got sent down to Double-A, got my butt back to the big leagues. I think having dealt with that, having — not the confidence, but at least the experience of knowing I can come back through this stuff definitely helps.”
  • On whether he seeks out advice: “It’s always nice to have, especially a guy that’s been around like Jeff Jones to come up and say, ‘Listen, I’m seeing exactly what you’re seeing. You’re fine.’ He came up today and said ‘I’ve seen some bad luck, then I’ve seen what’s happened in the past week with you. I wish I had some words of wisdom, some things to change to change what’s going on, but sometimes you just have to keep your head up, keep plugging along.'”
  • On getting booed on his way out: “Trust me, I don’t give a [care] about that. Pardon my French. They can boo me all they want. I am my biggest critic. No one will put myself down more than I do. So as much as they feel like they’re being tough on me, I’m way tougher on myself.”

46 Comments

I saw the original broadcast. I also watched the replay. OT I guess. Glutton for punishment?? Whatever. Joe’s fastball started out at 90 and eventually EE followed off #17 which was at 93. Most of the FB sat at 91. The first slider was at 85. The rest of the off speed stuff ranged from 82 to 87. Were all these pitches, Sliders?? The 3-2 pitch to Gose was a ball. No way to call Reyes out at third even though he deserved to be. Meanwhile, Joe struck out EE twice! If the HP ump had rung up EE for the second out, then Joe would have walked Lind and pitched to Lawrie with the score 1-0. Pop out or grand slam?? Don’t know do we?? If we went to the bottom of the ninth 1-0 would we have scored against Janssen??

Schemhl:
“Asked if he would use Nathan in a save situation if an opportunity presented itself Wednesday night, Ausmus said he “wouldn’t answer that right now.”

“I would talk to Joe before I made that public knowledge,” he said.”
That 20 MM/2 could be the biggest mistake since Fielder

This could be a worse mistake than Fielder. Don’t get me wrong he wasn’t the only problem last night…….either Cy Young pitched to them last night again or theese guys just can’t hit. Not much fun too watch lately.

with Fielder possibly never playing well again – this can’t be a bigger mistake. This year Nathan has been striking people out with his FB, SL and CU much less while walking them much more. His SL and CU have been getting hit harder than in the past too. Yes his FB velocity is down and thus so is his arm speed, which probably affects the amount of life his off speed stuff has. http://www.fangraphs.com/pitchfx.aspx?playerid=1122&position=P&pitch=CU
.
hopefully he can fix what he clearly needs to fix. regardless of how great he feels – it needs fixing. Jones and Joyner both have their work cut out for them…Hunter, Cabby and AJ went like 0-10 last night!

Thanks, Evan. Back when Joe dominated us he was a two pitch closer. Fastball and slider let’ me see you hit it. After the arm injury, he has added two more pitches. I would suggest he put the new FT ball in the back pocket. Of course, avoiding walks is his top priority. Going forward, Brad needs to protect Joe. Three saves in three days in a row for one man just does not happen that often. Joba can pick him up from time to time. Go Tigers!

What a game by Sanchez – hats off to him and to JD for the 3-run bomb and trying to keep us in it. Nathan is making it tough to welcome him onto this team. I was not a fan of Joba (have a hard time liking any Yankee) but doing his job can make it easier to embrace him. Going to the game tonight, I will be ok with the loss last night if we can win when I am there in person and win the series. Last year went to 3 regular season games and Ricky pitched all of them, so I guess I am destined to see him!

If Nathan hadn’t blown up in the 9th, the JD HR could have won the game. Now you watch for tonight’s line-up and see if JD is in it. Use the hot bat?

Blue Jays wouldn’t of used the same pitcher in a 0-0 game that they used in a 5-0 game.

JD can/should definitely play more.
he can back up davis & hunter. and then he can play for davis when davis covers CF for jackson.

hi jason
fyi, sanchez’s 2.15 era isn’t showing up in the pitching leaders box on tigers.com.
something needs to be fixed.

on tigers.com, near bottom, in the team leaders box, the website says max is the era leader w/3.2. there’s no mention of sanchez’s 2.15.

then click sortable stats to go to mlb, and sanchez era doesnt show there either. with a 2.15 era, he should be #7 in the entire mlb!

Not enough innings to qualify. He’s four short.

thanks rich!
and mlb wrote me back right away (after i sent them a note too– this situation of sanchez not getting recognized for his brillance really concerns me!), and they said the same thing. how unfortunate tho!
sanchez should be #7 in the MLB and #4 in the AL.

and certainly sanchez’s last 2 games offer another example of how ERA is a more accurate measure of a pitcher’s talents than the W/L one.

Qualification is one inning pitched per game played. 162 innings over a full season. Unless injured, Sanchez will qualify just as he did last year. Give it a couple more starts.

No Iggy this year. So sad!

[confused] didn’t we know that for months now?

Why am I the only person who asks about Dirks?!

Anybody know what Kinsler was doing last night when he tracked that groundball off Batista’s bat into the left side of the field? What was he going to do even if he’d been able to pick it up? The run scores either way.

Like I said–Ian has not been playing that well lately. He has to stay home on a ball that far on the shortstop side of the bag. Mental stuff getting to him. In other words, his head isn’t in it. He knows he is the igniter for this team and the team is going poorly.
Nathan was awful obviously. But if Krol gets a ground ball instead of sacfly-this could have been a totally different game.
But, our pitching is not the real issue. The real issue is that our regulars have produced 2 runs in the last 3 games.
If AJ, Torii, Alex and Nick don’t hit this year. We won’t even win the division.
When I say hit I mean AJ has to hit .270, Hunter .280, Alex .250 and Nick .260
They have to drive in some runs. Alex and Nick need to find some fences.
Those guys are the problems they are either grossly underachieving or not hitting well enough to justify the defense they are getting (in the case of Nick and Torii).
In my mind Romine doesn’t even count. He is an automatic out and might hit less than Ray Oyler without the defense. Even management’s strange sense of loyalty and planning will not keep him in this lineup. I’d be surprised if it doesn’t happen by the weekend actually.
Nathan has to throw strikes. It works for Joba. Whelan, on the farm, could be given a look. Knebel a little more in real-life situations. AlAl has to wake up and realize that 75% of your pitches being sliders results in enough hangers to kill you.

Since he hit his 1st Hr on May 23rd Romine is hitting .265. Don’t know what more you want?

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Evan – are you seeing a rain delay to start the game? We were going to be pushing it to get there early enough to be in our seats for the first pitch, but too much of a rain delay means a short sleep before work and probably more beer than I should have!

Good question! Yes I think there is a good chance of a delayed start. Something like a 40 minute rain delay. The rain is nearly certain at the ballpark until about 5-6 and then the chance drops heavily until at 9pm it will be about a 30% of rain. Not extremely hard (Tstorms) rain either, so the show SHOULD go on.

Romine with .265 over last ten games, compared to T-Hunt .179, Jackson .139, Kinsler .227, Avila .065. I could go on. Yeah, Romine is really destroying the offense with his weak bat.

I knew the numbers were real bad but they are much lower than I thought . Gotta light a fire under the boys.

Here’s my take on Romine. He was a utility guy and has now been thrown into a starting role. Anytime he reads anything about the Tigers (which I advise he not do), he’ll see every writer not named Mark Twain pronouncing loudly that Detroit needs a shortstop. So he starts to press. Next thing you know, his strongest suit, defense, takes a hit. This team always has to have “that” guy, doesn’t it?
Everyone should take a deep breath and relax.

Romine is not the issue. However the SS position might be. “The players that have manned [ss] to this point have combined for an MLB-worst .187/.239/.235 batting line while adding negative defensive contributions according to both Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved.” -By Steve Adams [June 4, 2014] MLBTRADERUMORS.com

And when I say the SS position “blame” I mostly blame Iggy for not getting this fixed at the end of last season (so he could be back say by the ASB). Shame on Dirks too.

Suarez up!! Who was sent down?? DFA’d??

Worth.He does not have the range for SS according to the Tigers( Henning says)

should have DFA’d Coke and put worth in the pen. kidding.

To miss Jim Leyland and Valverde in one inning.JL disliked the idea of going with the closer in a tie game. And Valverde gave the Tiger two and a half great seasons unlike Jose Nathan . I you dont know it already, Jose is actually Joseph in spanish

i about fell off my chair @ jose nathan

I didn’t know that ElTigre. I will miss Joseph very much.
.
There was some talk of Hernan being brought up, but I guessed they changed their mind.

I mean Jose is the spanish for Joseph

I checked Romine´s numbers 957 F% and -7 DRS

The numbers can sometimes be deceiving. I don’t think he was all that bad. Better than Worth, I think. Danny could play some 3rd base, but Don Kelly just about has that covered.

The chances of Suarez working out are, at best, 50/50. But it is a move that had to be done. Expecting Romine to hit is ludricous. He is too stiff at the plate and does not respond well to pressure. It’s pretty obvious. There are arguments that others are not hitting even as well,, Avila, Casty, AJ. realistically, those guys are going nowhere other than their assigned positions. Someone had to take the fall for the lack of production and the logical target was Romine. He is now the utility which is a good role for him.
Calling Suarez up now gives DD the chance to evaluate whether they need to go after a proven guy at the deadline.
It’s not like anyone is scape-goating Romine. We knew we would not get much at the plate but to be honest, every fan here was thinking that he might be an Iglesias in the field. He’s not, so he’s not an everyday player. Simple.
The most significant problem on this team is the lack of hitting from AJ and Avila. Those guys are critical to the team’s success. Alex needs to provide the LHB and AJ needs to become a middle of the order weapon. I don’t think either of them will accomplish such.
Nathan will probably be OK. He won’t be great but if he can stop issuing free passes he will at least save more than his current ratio. The bullpen will be a continuing work in progress all year. We have to get used to that. DD went for Joe instead of KRod.
At the time it seemed logical. Nathan’s walk rate had been superb.
So, we have called up two rookies already. Will there be more? Will McCann be far behind? Moya?

Two things: I never thought anybody would be an Iglesias except Iglesias. It’s crazy how 2 or 3 weeks ago we were raving about Romine’s defense. Oh well.
DD actually went for Nathan over Benoit and his 0.779 WHIP in San Diego. Joaquin was happy to stay here as closer but it appears he’s not doing that with the Padres.

It’s a little concerning when they call someone being called up “highly touted.” We’ve heard that line before. Coming to the major leagues is a whole different ballgame. They might have to fire a hitting coach if these guys don’t start producing.

I consider the Suarez move highly risky.

what is the risk, again?

Lost ballgames!

It is June 4th. We are in first place. We have had some ups and downs. Baseball, what a great game. Who knows exactly how a new player will perform. Do you think they are not trying? The players are still getting to know one another. They all want to go to the WS. Inhale, Exhale. A new game today. Go Tigers!

I just thought I would jump in here..I agree, however being a Tiger fan from NJ for over 50 years, and watching this team with all that money power..it just seems to me
watching teams like Cleveland, Oakland, and Toronto…they seem to have a game plan of sorts..they appear and are aggressive…which this Tiger team is not.
There is no easy win for them…Sanchez pitches his heart out…only have it blown
twice by Nathan….This my opinion,and mind you I watch just about every game…
Nathan looks like he is about to pee in his pants…his facial expression, his fluttering
about the mouth, my god, he shows no confidence in a pressure situation..Doesn’t
Asmus or someone notice this? I’m sure the other team does, and takes the advantage..by taking pitches instead of being fooled.
JohnL fr NJ..

We do need some pop from our outfielders. We’re not getting it from our either or our 3B man.
JD hits well enough when he plays to justify more playing time.

I meant from our ‘catcher” or 3rd baseman.

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