Joe Nathan RP DET 2 Months

Joe Nathan slammed the door on the Royals in the ninth inning on Friday, preserving a one-run advantage and earning his 19th save of the season.

The 39-year-old closer has pitched better of late, but still owns a troublesome 5.61 ERA, 1.51 WHIP and 35/14 K/BB ratio over 33 2/3 innings on the season. He isn't a good bet to magically turn his season around and improve his ratios, but should continue to be able to rack up saves at the back of the Tigers bullpen.

Joe Nathan RP DET 2 Months

Joe Nathan struck out two over a perfect inning to convert his 18th save of the season in Wednesday's win over the Dodgers.

It was a painless ninth inning, as Nathan entered to protect a three-run lead and got Hanley Ramirez to ground out and Adrian Gonzalez and Matt Kemp to go down swinging. Nathan has converted three straight save chances, but it's certainly been a shaky year overall with a 5.79 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and five blown saves.

Joe Nathan RP DET 2 Months

Joe Nathan earned his 16th save of the season Wednesday in the Tigers' defeat of the Rangers.

Nathan was again shaky, however, yielding a one-out double to Shin-Soo Choo and an RBI single to Adrian Beltre before rallying for the final two outs. The veteran right-hander has a brutal 6.28 ERA and 1.60 WHIP on the season. Joba Chamberlain should get his shot eventually.

Joe Nathan RP DET 2 Months

Joe Nathan blew his fifth save of the season Saturday in the Tigers' win over the Indians.

Detroit bounced back to win the game in extras, with Phil Coke earning the save. Nathan was impressive on Thursday afternoon against the Royals, striking out the side to collect his 14th save, but the 39-year-old's season-long problems returned on Saturday night in Cleveland. Joba Chamberlain remains a must-stash in all mixed and AL-only fantasy leagues.

Joe Nathan RP DET 2 Months

Joe Nathan earned his 14th save of the season Thursday in the Tigers' 2-1 defeat of the Royals.

And the Royals' winning streak has ended at 10 games. Nathan was sharp, striking out all three batters he faced in the top of the ninth inning on just 15 pitches. It was an important bounceback appearance for the veteran right-hander, who has not been good this season. He hadn't struck out the side since last August.

Joe Nathan RP DET 3 Months

Joe Nathan struggled again in a non-save situation against the Twins on Friday, allowing an unearned run on two walks and a hit batsmen in 2/3 of an inning.

To be fair, Nathan should have been out of the inning without any damage, as an errant throw from shortstop Eugenio Suarez allowed the leadoff man to reach. He has been simply pitiful on the mound this season, posting a 6.85 ERA and 1.61 WHIP over his 23 2/3 innings.

Joe Nathan RP DET 3 Months

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Monday that he's "not even considering" removing Joe Nathan from his closer role.

Joba Chamberlain got the save chance Sunday (and blew it), but that was only because Nathan had pitched in two straight games. Nathan holds an ugly 7.04 ERA for the season, but he'll remain in the ninth inning indefinitely. "I'm not really thinking that far ahead. Right now, Joe is and has been the closer the whole year," Ausmus said. "The only times he hasn't closed have been games that I've felt it was best to give him a rest. If there's a bridge that needs to be crossed sometime down the road, I'll cross it. Right now, I'm not even considering it."

Joe Nathan RP DET 3 Months

After taking over with a four-run lead, Joe Nathan gave up two runs and four hits in the ninth Saturday against the Red Sox.

Had Joba Chamberlain not pitched the eighth, he probably would have taken over for Nathan at some point in the ninth tonight, likely after the third hit. As it was, Brad Ausmus figured Nathan was still the best option to finish it, and he managed to escape, getting Stephen Drew to fly out to end it. It was Nathan's fourth lousy appearances in the last five, but it still doesn't figure to cost him the closer's role, at least not yet. He will almost certainly need Sunday off now after pitching a scoreless inning Friday and throwing 32 pitches tonight. Chamberlain would also be working a third straight day tomorrow, but he could go anyway.

Joe Nathan RP DET 3 Months

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus indicated after Tuesday's game that he plans to stick with Joe Nathan as the team's closer.

Nathan was rocked for four runs over two-thirds of an inning after entering in the ninth inning of a tie game. The closer has allowed eight runs over his last three appearances and 10 runs over his last six games to push his ERA all the way up to 6.86. "First of all, that one pitch (the full-counter to Gose) was pretty darn close, quite frankly," Ausmus said. "Joe's been very good for a very long time, and I expect him to be very good for the Tigers. And he expects himself to be very good. But even the best have rough times." While it appears Nathan will remain in the ninth inning for now, fantasy owners would be wise to scoop up Joba Chamberlain just in case.

Joe Nathan RP DET 3 Months

Joe Nathan surrendered two runs and three hits in the ninth inning Thursday, but he still picked up a save against the A's.

The inning started with a double and a groundout that advanced the runner. Yoenis Cespedes then hit a grounder to short that should have been turned into an out, but Andrew Romine backed up on the ball and then made a poor throw. This being 2014, it was ruled an RBI single, of course. After a strikeout for the second out of the inning, Josh Reddick doubled and Nick Punto worked a long walk. However, Jed Lowrie grounded out to end it. Nathan was coming off a blown save in Wednesday's game. He has more blown saves (four), homers allowed (four) and runs allowed (12) in 20 2/3 innings this year than he did in 64 2/3 innings last year. Still, we don't see any reason for panic. Joba Chamberlain is next in line for saves in the Detroit pen, but we don't think it will come to that.