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Tigers bullpen thriving out west

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ANAHEIM -- Maybe a trip to the West Coast was the remedy for what ailed the Tigers bullpen.

Since Al Alburquerque's two-run outing last Saturday, Tigers relievers had strung together 13 1/3 scoreless innings entering Friday's series opener against the Angels. They allowed seven runs and five walks in that stretch while racking up 15 strikeouts. They didn't an inherited runner to score in that stretch, but they didn't inherit any runners from the starters, either.

In all of those innings, the bullpen replaced the starter to begin an inning, not in the middle of one. For manager Jim Leyland, that's the difference in strong starting pitching allowing him to use his relievers the way he wants to, not because he has to.

"They've done a good job recently," Leyland said. "Both bullpens over in Seattle did a good job, I thought. [Anibal] Sanchez gave us innings. [Doug] Fister gave us innings. [Justin] Verlander obviously gave us innings. Scherzer gave us innings. That's when you're using your bullpen how you want to, when you're getting innings out of your starters."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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