By Ashley Dunkak
*Note: Interview with Joakim Soria was conducted in Spanish.
COMERICA PARK (CBS DETROIT) – Joakim Soria gave up four runs on six hits in his home debut for the Detroit Tigers, and he later reviewed the video, just as he does following every performance, good or bad.
After bad days, he looks for mechanical problems that might exist so he can fix them as quickly as possible and move on to the next game. Certainly, he kept an eye out for any such flaws when reviewing his Tuesday outing, which lasted only one-third of an inning.
The symptoms of any problem were easy to spot: pitches right down the middle of the plate.
In his seventh season as a major league pitcher, Soria knows better than to get hung up over a poor outing, even one as ill-timed as Tuesday’s, and even one he has repeatedly called the worst of his career.
“It’s difficult,” Soria said. “But you have to try to move forward, forget about that. The majority of people have bad days, including in other jobs. The problem is that everyone realizes when I do badly at my job because it’s on TV.”
Soria’s bad day, of course, doubled as a bad first impression for Tigers fans, though Soria said he was not thinking about that aspect of the game while he was on the mound. A pitcher of fewer years and less experience might be devastated to perform so poorly only a week after joining a new team, but Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said it makes sense that a veteran like Soria would be more measured.
“Much easier for the player, if he’s got experience, to handle failure on a big stage, than if he’s a guy who’s a young phenom or even just a young player, thinking he’s blown his one shot at sticking in the major leagues because he had one bad outing or one bad game,” Ausmus said. “But most of the guys you talk about as being experienced probably did have that happen to them when they were young, and that’s how they learned.”
Soria answered all questions at his locker following Tuesday’s game, and Wednesday he spoke more about his rough outing. Ausmus said Soria’s willingness to do so showed professionalism, just one more positive attribute the manager has noted in the short time he has been around Soria.
“He’s played for a while,” Ausmus said. “It’s not his first rodeo. He seems like a stand-up, team-oriented guy in these few days that he’s been here.”
Soria had a 2.70 ERA in 35 appearances with Texas this season before coming to Detroit. Despite the ugly outing Tuesday, Ausmus has expressed confidence the reliever will return to his traditionally reliable form.
“This is a very good relief pitcher,” Ausmus said after that game. “He’s a closer and having an outstanding year. I’m not going to make a judgment on Joakim Soria based on one outing.”