Alburquerque working himself into trouble

Alburquerque working himself into trouble

CHICAGO -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland won't necessarily say he's "concerned" about Al Alburquerque, but there's no question the right-handed reliever has struggled lately.

Alburquerque was charged with two runs in one-plus innings in Monday's 6-2 loss to the White Sox, surrendering consecutive singles to begin the eighth after throwing 13 pitches in the seventh.

"I don't know if 'concerned' is the right word, but he didn't throw many pitches that first inning and in that situation, he's got to be able to come out and give us a second inning," Leyland said Monday night. "He just got in trouble and wasn't able to do it."

That's been the theme lately for Alburquerque, who has given up at least one run in three of his last four outings -- including a walk-off single to Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner on Friday.

The 27-year-old right-hander has a 5.51 ERA in 32 2/3 innings.

Tigers catcher Brayan Pena said Alburquerque -- who allowed three hits, all singles, on Monday -- suggested the White Sox simply took advantage of balls left up in the strike zone.

"He left a couple pitches up a little bit," Pena said. "He knows that. He's very mad at himself. He's pretty upset, because he knows he can make better pitchers than that. But he's a very strong guy. Mentally, I know that right now he's thinking about it. But I know tomorrow he's going to regroup."

Cash Kruth is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.