Detroit — He has talked to pitching coach Chris Bosio about making some mechanical tweaks. Before the game, in the dugout Sunday, he was working with bullpen coach Rick Anderson on his set-up.
He had Shane Greene go over video to make sure he wasn’t doing anything to tip his pitches.
Daniel Stumpf is leaving no stone unturned.
“This is one of the biggest struggles I’ve gone through,” the Detroit Tigers’ reliever said.
After establishing himself as a reliable late-inning left-handed reliever with a career-most 55 appearances last year, and following it up with a stingy April, Stumpf has struggled, mightily, this month. In his last six outings, covering just two innings, he’s allowed seven runs and 10 hits.
Worse, left-handed hitters are suddenly thumping him. He gave up hits to lefties Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager in a game-breaking three-run seventh in the second game Saturday night.
Lefties were 3-for-20 against Stumpf in April. They’ve gone 6-for-9 against him since, with two doubles and a home run.
“I don’t feel like I am throwing the ball badly,” he said. “But I am having a tough time getting guys out right now. I feel like I am throwing it well. I felt really good last night. I felt like I was spotting up and all of that.
“I am just in one of those slumps right now. I am going to come out of it eventually. It’s just, when is it going to happen? I can’t find any luck right now.”
Stumpf doesn’t think he’s tipping pitches. But it’s odd how hitters, especially left-handers, have been on both his fastball (which hit 95 mph Saturday) and his slider.
“I’ve been talking to Greeney about it,” Stumpf said. “I had him look at video with me. I don’t think I am tipping pitches. I just think I am having a case of bad luck right now. It’s to the point where I have to figure it out and get out of it.”
It’s put the Tigers’ bullpen in a bind. Left-hander Blaine Hardy made a spot start Sunday. He and Stumpf are the only two lefties in the bullpen.
“You’ve noticed we’ve already done a few things,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Buck Farmer has come in a bit more. He’s got a nice change-up and he can get lefties out. We used him in both games last night, so it might be tough today.
“But we have a couple of guys we think can get lefties out.”
The Tigers don’t really have a left-handed reliever at Triple-A Toledo ready to come up, either, so Stumpf is going to have to figure it out.
“They’ve talked about a lot of things, mechanical things,” Gardenhire said. “Trying different things, whether it’s tilting his head, all those little things to get his ball breaking more, to get his slider sharper. Right now it’s kind of rolling.
“But more than anything else, he’s just missing location. You’ve got to locate the ball. He’s got to get in a better spot, mentally and physically.”
The sooner the better.