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Game 2013.64: Tigers at Royals

36-27, first place 5.5 GA, winning streak at one.

Jackson

Alburquerque

Worth

Commenter mcb brought up an interesting point about the importance of Torii Hunter’s play Monday night on the Salvador Perez 2-run triple. I agree that a conventional back-up of CF Avisail Garcia would have held Perez to a double. Two runs would have scored either way, but with Perez on 2B instead of 3B, the score might have stayed 2-2, which might have changed the complexion of the game later. However, in my view, Hunter was coming on hard and measuring his own play on the ball – no fault there – just before Garcia made the sudden dive and stab at it. There was no time and nothing else for Torii to do but what he did – steer clear and circle back for the ball Garcia missed. All might have gone better, perhaps, if Garcia had yielded to Hunter – who was coming toward a throw in if it dropped – to begin with.

I’m reminded of a couple plays earlier in the season. There was a flyball hit to deep LCF that fell between Andy Dirks and Austin Jackson, won the game for the Twins. That one just made it out there too fast and fell in no man’s land. No fault. Another time (can’t remember the opponent), Matt Tuiasosopo pulled away at the last moment on a flyball hit to LCF nearly to the fence, as Jackson was coming over hard for it himself. Tuiasosopo had a play on that one and gave way out of caution, as a collision must have seemed imminent. I blamed Jackson on that one. I know he can cover a lot of ground, but he was trespassing there.

WRAPPING UP OUR BULLPEN REPORT CARD THRU 60

TIGERS BULLPEN
*172 IP, 4-11 W-L, 3.82 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, .231 BAA, 0.83 HR/9, 9.6/3.9 K/BB-9, 13-21 SvO

205 pitched-in-inning appearances
24.4% RUNS ALLOWED (50 times)
33.7% REACHES/ADVANCES BUT NO RUNS ALLOWED (69 times)
41.9% NOTHING BUT OUTS (86 times)
75.6% NO DAMAGE (155 times)

OTHER BULLPENS (AL AVERAGE?) AGAINST THE TIGERS

279 pitched-in-inning appearances
24.7% RUNS ALLOWED (69 times)
40.9% REACHES/ADVANCES BUT NO RUNS ALLOWED (114 times)
34.4% NOTHING BUT OUTS (96 times)
75.3% NO DAMAGE (210 times)

KANSAS CITY ROYALS BULLPEN (A GOOD ONE)
*155 IP, 12-9 W-L, 2,79 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, .225 BAA, 0.87 HR/9, 8.3/3.3 K/BB-9, 17-25 SvO

184 pitched-in-inning appearances
21.7% RUNS ALLOWED (40 times)
39.7% REACHES/ADVANCES BUT NO RUNS ALLOWED (73 times)
38.6% NOTHING BUT OUTS (71 times)
78.3% NO DAMAGE (144 times)

* Thru 62 games

Note the rather slim margin between average and good. Interesting.

DETROIT INDIVIDUAL

Let’s abbreviate REACHES/ADVANCES as “H” and NOTHING BUT OUTS as “Z” and then rank Tigers relievers in the NO DAMAGE category (the RUNS ALLOWED ranking running exactly opposite, of course):

PORCELLO 100% (Z-100%) 2 Innings Pitched In
ORTEGA 87% (H-47%, Z-40%) 15 IPI
BENOIT 86% (H-41%, Z-45%) 29 IPI
SMYLY 85% (H-40%, Z-45%) 40 IPI
VALVERDE 81% (H-31%, Z-50%) 16 IPI
PUTKONEN 80% (H-40%, Z-40%) 10 IPI
COKE 72% (H-20%, Z-52%) 25 IPI
DOWNS 71% (H-21%, Z-50%) 28 IPI
ALBURQUERQUE 68% (H-42%, Z-26%) 19 IPI
REED 67% (H-67%) 3 IPI
DOTEL 57% (H-28%, Z-28%) 7 IPI
RONDON 50% (H-25%, Z-25%) 4 IPI
VILLAREAL 14% (H-14%) 7 IPI

So… there’s something to chew on. I’ll chew on it for a while myself, and be back with a different subject of statistical inquiry next time around.

Post-game to follow.

POST-GAME: Royals 3, Tigers 2 (10 innings). Jose Valverde is not a popular fellow. Let us not forget, however, that Smyly allowed Hosmer to reach. And then there are all those missed opportunities and a few crappy, crucial at bats from hitters who ought to know better. Several culprits in this one. Verlander was dominant, more so than in many a game where he tossed double-digit K’s (8 today). James Shields was quite good as well, and it was another duel between the two, but the Tigers managed to find a few chinks in Shields’s armor. The story of the game – before it fell apart – was the outstanding defense behind both pitchers. (Well, Peralta’s sailing throw that would have been an error but for a lucky bounce back doesn’t count – but he made a great stop on Butler’s grounder to begin the play). There was 1B Eric Hosmer on Tuiasosopo’s scorching liner. There was RF David Lough robbing Cabrera of a double with a lunge and tumble catch for an out. Santiago at 2B made two outstanding plays in the 3rd. Fielder snatching Elliot Johnson’s liner and getting the unassisted DP at 1B. The enviable range of SS Alcides Escobar on Don Kelly’s bid for an RBI single up the middle to get the 3rd out of the 8th. The Tigers had chipped in runs in the 1st (Fielder bloop scores Garcia) and 5th (back to back doubles by Tui and Pena), and did get 1 run from a fine game of small ball (3 sac bunts??). After 7, the mighty Justin seemed in line for his 9th win, bullpen willing. Before we beat on them, let’s mention the missed opportunities. Martinez GIDP with 2 on in the 1st. Pena at 3B, one out in the 5th, bupkus from Garcia and Hunter. Tuiasosopo K with 2 on in the 6th to end the threat and inning (not a bad AB, though). Pena on 2B, one out in the 7th, Garcia and Hunter AGAIN (punched out by Shields). 2 on and none out in the 8th, nothing from Martinez-Peralta-Kelly. Now it’s the bottom of the 9th, 2-0 Tigers. I was so happy to see Smyly start the inning. I shouldn’t have been, because Hosmer found his first pitch as predictable as I did. Failure against the one guy he was going to face – not good. Nervous time. Valverde in. It went well for a while. He was pitching pretty well. Got Butler to chase the high heat for a legitimate K this time. 2 outs! Hosmer takes 2B, though. Only Mr. 3 K’s (against Verlander) Lorenzo Cain to get. The count goes to 0-2. You don’t throw what Valverde did here. Cain ties it, 2-run homer to LF. Here’s where it gets really ugly. Next batter Lough, groundball, Miggy flat out drops the 3rd out. Coke comes in. Before a pitch is thrown, Coke goes to 1B – they’ve got Lough at 1B hung up! PRINCE now flat out drops the 3rd out, and Lough takes 2B. In the 10th, Hunter and Cabrera looked foolish against Greg Holland, and Fielder not much better. Against Coke (why?), the Royal small-balled their way to the inevitable two-out walkoff hit (RBI single by Hosmer). Tigers now 2-7 in extras. One of the most demoralizing losses of the season, an absolutely GUTLESS late-inning showing. On this hot and breezy day, some of the Tigers couldn’t stand it and left the kitchen early. If Leyland didn’t read them the Riot Act about this one, he must be saving the rage for later.

THE ALL-STAR TEAM

C Pena
1B Hosmer
2B Santiago
SS Escobar
3B Moustakas
LF Tuiasosopo
CF Cain
RF Lough
DH Butler
P Verlander

RULE 5 DRAFT PICK: James Shields, Miguel Tejada

DFA: Jose Valverde

 

Posted by on June 12, 2013.

Categories: 2013 Season, Game Post

64 Responses

  1. Thanks for the excellent analysis! Any statistics regarding inherited runners allowed to score? It seems to me that this is a key indicator regarding bullpen effectiveness.

    One thing that jumps out at me is that The Mashed Potato allows at least a run 20% of the time he gets in a game. Since he almost always enters in the 9th with the bases empty, this seems to be a very high rate. Perhaps TMP and Long Ball should switch roles.

    by PHToy in HK on Jun 12, 2013 at 3:13 am

  2. Today’s Tui-Time Tiger Lineup:
    1. Garcia, CF
    2. Hunter, RF
    3. Cabrera, 3B
    4. Fielder, 1B
    5. Martinez, DH
    6. Peralta, SS
    7. Tuiasosopo, LF
    8. Pena, C
    9. Santiago, 2B

    Today we get Tui, and the season debut of Avisail Garcia as a leadoff hitter, along with Pena behind the plate and the rare Santiago start. Detroit gets a long break after this afternoon’s game–they don’t play again until Friday night in Minnesota. They are back home after 3 in Minny, and I predict Austin Jackson will be there for the home stand.

    by Coleman on Jun 12, 2013 at 12:29 pm

  3. Leyland unexpectedly goes with the righty lineup against the RHP Shields, who has reverse splits (he is tougher on lefties). So, if that’s the case…then why does switch-hitter Martinez bat lefty against him?

    by Coleman on Jun 12, 2013 at 2:25 pm

  4. Hey Buds: Sitting in Keflavik airport waiting on a flight to Copenhagen while following the game on my BB and drinking a Viking brewe. I hope Verlander is on today and good for 8 or so innings.

    by Only Tiger Fan in Iceland on Jun 12, 2013 at 3:19 pm

  5. Shaking my head again today. Where does this offense go and hibernate when we are away from Comerica Park? Its really weird and it doesn’t matter if it is somebody good (like Shields) or somebody below average (like Wade Davis) starting against us away from Motown. Even in good hitters parks like BALT and TEX we struggle to score more often than not. To me its got to be a psychological thing. Nothing else makes sense to me. Thank goodness that we have the best starting pitching in the league, because this offense being the “second best offense in the majors” doesn’t stand up to closer inspection. Too many of our runs come in blowout wins that inflate the stats and make the offense look formidable from a statistical point of view. Add to it that we are HEAVILY reliant on two guys doing the vast majority of the damage and you get days like these (and many others this year……….shut out 6 times already in 2013) more often than the “shock and awe” offense of the game two Saturdays ago in BALT or the first game of the Tampa series in DET last week.

    by Jerry the Tiger Fan on Jun 12, 2013 at 3:34 pm

  6. ….and yet another R3L2O fail by the Tigers. This time it is Avisail Garcia beating one into the dirt right at the third baseman with a man on third and two down. Of course the third out is recorded on a fly ball to CF that would have scored the run if it had come one batter earlier.

    by Jerry the Tiger Fan on Jun 12, 2013 at 3:36 pm

  7. Enjoy the brew! I suspect you are soon to be the only Tiger fan in Denmark.

    by Coleman on Jun 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm

  8. Comment should have read “Avisail Garcia beating one into the dirt right at the third baseman with a man on third and ONE down.” This site needs an edit button. :-)

    by Jerry the Tiger Fan on Jun 12, 2013 at 3:38 pm

  9. Headed to Knared, Sweden and then Alesund, Norway. I have made many Tiger fans in these parts. However one remains unfortunately still a Joe Mauer fan.

    by Only Tiger Fan in Iceland on Jun 12, 2013 at 3:44 pm

  10. Part of The Mashed Potato’s problem is that he refuses to hold any runner on that reaches first base against him. So in essence, any single or walk is almost an automatic double when Valverde is in the game. It happened again last night but Valverde was able to work through it. It is a dangerous modus operandi (and IMO silly way to live as a closer). I can’t think of one other team’s closer that just lets baserunners steal with impunity the way that Valverde does. Even more baffling is that Ol’ Smoky allows it. He grumbles all the time about AA walking too many guys, but at least AA does not ignore baserunners after he walks them (ala Valverde). Its shocking to me that a major league closer who has less than electric stuff is allowed to operate in this manner.

    by Jerry the Tiger Fan on Jun 12, 2013 at 3:47 pm

  11. The umps are in Billy Butler’s head.

    by Coleman on Jun 12, 2013 at 5:09 pm

  12. Valverde AND Leyland both need to go.

    by BobS on Jun 12, 2013 at 5:11 pm

  13. El Caca Grande.

    by Coleman on Jun 12, 2013 at 5:12 pm

  14. 0-2 count, 2 outs, and Valverde shakes off Pena’s breaking ball sign, only to serve up a belt high 92 mph fastball, which Cain launched into the seats… to f-up a very good pitching performance by JV

    by StormanNorman$ on Jun 12, 2013 at 5:13 pm

  15. A splitter according to MLB.com, his BP pitch now.

    by Vince in MN on Jun 12, 2013 at 5:17 pm

  16. Rod Allen claimed it was a fastball – whatever it was, it left the park in a hurry

    by StormanNorman$ on Jun 12, 2013 at 5:21 pm

  17. I always urn off the game as soon as the relief pitchers come in. Especially if it’s Valverde. Hard to understand how Dombrowski will pay all he does to batters and starters, but can’t find money for decent relief. Sickening and disheartening.

    by sky on Jun 12, 2013 at 5:31 pm

  18. gave this one away… JV dominated KC hitters for 7 innings…KC maybe hit the ball hard a couple times off him

    by StorminNorman$ on Jun 12, 2013 at 5:31 pm

  19. Now when he throws the splitter it is going yard. It used to be his go to pitch but it seems to not be anymore.

    by Angus on Jun 12, 2013 at 5:32 pm

  20. We’ve seen this story before, too many times.

    by Coleman on Jun 12, 2013 at 5:34 pm

  21. All of the focus will be on Valverde, but you can’t expect to win games with 2 runs in 10 innings. Feel bad for Verlander and irritated with Valverde, but this one’s on the guys with the bats.

    by Coleman on Jun 12, 2013 at 5:41 pm

  22. Also have to give credit to Shields; he is a good pitcher, and pitched a good game.

    by Coleman on Jun 12, 2013 at 5:50 pm

  23. I don’t agree. It is the relief’s job to close out with even a one run lead. What if the game was 9-8 going into the bottom of 9th. Same reality; same job for bullpen. Betting against the Tiger bullpen in close games is a moneymaker most times.

    by sky on Jun 12, 2013 at 5:58 pm

  24. PIT did it twice in 3 games a couple of weeks ago as I recall.

    Any time you pitch Coke and Valverde back to back you are asking for trouble. As the team’s two most inconsistent and unreliable relievers, the fail factor goes way up.

    by Vince in MN on Jun 12, 2013 at 6:04 pm

  25. I have no problem blaming Valverde. He is now 9 for 12 in save situations meaning that he has blown 25% of his save opportunities. How much longer can this team use a closer that blows every 4th save?

    by Mark on Jun 12, 2013 at 6:09 pm

  26. Approximately forever when Leyland is your manager- I blame him every bit as much as Valverde. There was no reason Smiley couldn’t have pitched the ninth, except for Leyland being married to the idea of Valverde as closer.

    by BobS on Jun 12, 2013 at 6:14 pm

  27. he threw one splitter out of 20+ pitches

    by William on Jun 12, 2013 at 7:24 pm

  28. The team will under achieve as long as they have Leyland as the manager. His decision making this year has been questionable on a regular basis. His belief in Valverde will be his downfall. The team can do better if it sends Valverde, Coke, Downs and Leyland packing. Anyone on the waiver wires or from AAA can do better AND that includes the manager.

    by mike76 on Jun 12, 2013 at 7:32 pm

  29. Anyone with stats regarding how The Smashed Potato (Smashed seems more emphatic to me than Mashed) performs in back-to-back appearances?

    I seem to remember a couple of years ago that Leyland noticed that he couldn’t handle more than 1 inning per game without blowing up and he started using him exclusively in the 9th inning of games. Maybe TSP is getting old and should be limited to 1 inning every other day until a replacement is found…

    by PHToy in HK on Jun 12, 2013 at 10:10 pm

  30. Just heard that the Tigers have 6 walk off LOSSES, tied for the lead. Not a good thing. Leyland’s not pitching or hitting, so it is not all his fault. Yeah he runs the guys out there (esp. bullpen usage) but are there better relief pitchers out there or in Toledo who can help us?

    by JimEggersUSMC on Jun 13, 2013 at 1:58 am

  31. That is not true. DD has spent money in the past tot get help for the bullpen (Valverde prior to the 2010 season and Benoit prior to the 2011 season). This year he gambled on Rondon being a phenom and he lost. He has no choice now but to put together some kind of package near the trade deadline and get a closer.

    by Jerry the Tiger Fan on Jun 13, 2013 at 2:05 am

  32. SMELL-verde!

    by David in Bham on Jun 13, 2013 at 6:44 am

  33. Well here we go again. just my opinion but if Leyland puts PaPa loser in to close or do anything that has him on the field during a game Jim should be fired I don’t care if he is a players manager you can only throw so much sand on the pile of manure to get rid of the stink

    by tigerfan on Jun 13, 2013 at 11:16 am

  34. Buster Olney is going with Papelbon as the future Tiger closer:
    http://www.detroitnews.com/art.....dyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

    by Coleman on Jun 13, 2013 at 2:07 pm

  35. Valverde tells Fox Sports” nobody want closer who blow save” good then go away, leave sooner than later, don’t let the door hit you in the ass. just go away NOW. experiment has failed its time to cut the ties and move on tigers much better off without Valverde than with him in any capacity. Mr. Ilitch deserves better, the fans deserve better.If Jim Leyland can still back Valverde then he needs to go to. Don’t get me wrong I like Jim and think he is a good manager but his devotion to players might be his undoing.

    by tigerfan on Jun 13, 2013 at 3:24 pm

  36. I hope they don’t trade for him (Papelbon) for a few reasons: 1) the asking price will be high, 2) he’s pitched pretty well in Philly, but his last two years in BOS were just OK., 3) contract dollars due – he’s owed an add’l $26M for ’14 & ’15, with a add’l $13M vesting option for ’16 if he appears in 100 games in ’14 & ’15. In my opinion, $39M is too much for a 33 yr old reliever who’s best years are behind him.

    In 1984 when Willie Hernandez won the Cy and MVP, he appeared in 80 games and pitched an amazing 140.1 innings! 15 different occasions he threw 3 innings or more – and he had 32 saves in 33 save opportunities. Oh how the concept of relief pitching has changed since then. Today, Hernandez probably would have only been allowed to pitch no more than 60 innings or less.

    I’m one of those guys who thinks the whole 1-inning 1-guy “closer”-thing is an over-rated self-perpetuating myth – here’s a 4 yr old article on the topic, and there’s been several similar written since. http://sports.espn.go.com/espn.....ple/080805

    by StorminNorman$ on Jun 13, 2013 at 4:38 pm

  37. I’m with you, on both Papelbon and the closer myth (was just sharing the column, not endorsing it).

    by Coleman on Jun 13, 2013 at 5:01 pm

  38. Great article, and almost 5 years old. Things sure have changed a lot since then ;)

    by Vince in MN on Jun 13, 2013 at 8:32 pm

  39. I find the lack of an edit button highly annoying myself. Seems to me this site once had that edit feature. Could be wrong.

    by Smoking Loon on Jun 13, 2013 at 8:37 pm

  40. I hope they skip the “get closer” thing and find one in-house. He’s there. Could be Benoit, could be Ortega, may yet be Rondon. Not much hope for the rest of the crew in that role. Not even Smyly.

    Move Valverde to the setup role, if you must save face and can’t DFA the bum.

    by Smoking Loon on Jun 13, 2013 at 8:40 pm

  41. Olney is another gasbag. If “closer” is the most over-rated position in sports, “sports writer” is the most over-rated position in journalism.

    by Vince in MN on Jun 13, 2013 at 8:41 pm

  42. It is also the job of the hitters to win close ones in late innings. Not all on the bullpen. Yesterday, Torii, Miggy, and Prince all pooped the bed in the 10th. No getting around it. Tigers’s own bats have played a major role in most of the bullpen’s 12 losses.

    by Smoking Loon on Jun 13, 2013 at 8:43 pm

  43. Trading for a closer this season is a road to nowhere. It’s asking for the Valverde situation all over again. No one else was even given a serious look before the panic set in and Valverde was back. No more panic, please. I could live with 3 of 4 saves converted if the focus was on seeing what works and adjusting, rather than anointing someone and sticking with them for the idiotic sake of “not having to think about who pitches the 9th.” Why NOT think about it? Is that too hard? Convenience takes precedence over winning? You’re going to be second-guessed as a manager NO MATTER WHAT.

    by Smoking Loon on Jun 13, 2013 at 8:50 pm

  44. Thanks, PHToy. I did post something on inherited runs about 30 games ago, I think. Could stand an update. It’s difficult stuff to compile, I’m still thinking easy data on this is out there somewhere and I’m just overlooking it.

    by Smoking Loon on Jun 13, 2013 at 8:54 pm

  45. For back-to-back Valverde, go to his game logs on baseball-reference. Easy-to-eyeball stuff in this case.

    by Smoking Loon on Jun 13, 2013 at 8:55 pm

  46. Loving Tui and the overall performance of the bench. Santiago’s time to shine yesterday, at last. In the awful loss, absolutely ALL of it on the regulars.

    Garcia can still look pretty raw at eh plate and in the field, but in the back of my mind now is the possibility that Jackson gets traded in the offseason and Garcia is the opening day CF in 2014. Sacrilege? Maybe.

    by Smoking Loon on Jun 13, 2013 at 9:01 pm

  47. The silver lining about the 6 walkoff losses is that the Tigers get there. They just can’t finish the job, and if we look at the extras-hitting, we can see where half the blame – at least – lies.

    by Smoking Loon on Jun 13, 2013 at 9:39 pm

  48. First Tigers game I ever went to Aurelio Lopez (Senor Smoke, RIP) had a 2 inning save in which he struck out all 6 batters he faced. Those were the days….

    by PHToy in HK on Jun 13, 2013 at 10:54 pm

  49. Yes, some years ago now. I liked the old edit feature. If they can do it in the Congressional Record, why not here?

    by Vince in MN on Jun 13, 2013 at 11:14 pm

  50. If the bats had only driven in more runs, we would have won those games.

    by Vince in MN on Jun 13, 2013 at 11:15 pm

  51. Yes, great article, StorminNorman$. The last paragraph was a nice kicker.

    by Smoking Loon on Jun 13, 2013 at 11:20 pm

  52. Yeah, the dominance won’t show so much in the box score, but JV owned them. Too bad his pitch count ran up. Woulda been a good time for a CG or something much closer to it.

    by Smoking Loon on Jun 13, 2013 at 11:30 pm

  53. I detect a hint of subtle mockery. OK, I left myself open there.

    by Smoking Loon on Jun 13, 2013 at 11:32 pm

  54. They might have passed a law against it. We could check the Congressional Record, but it may have been edited out by now.

    by Smoking Loon on Jun 13, 2013 at 11:41 pm

  55. http://www.freep.com/article/2.....306140033/
    based on this article it appears the pressure is getting to JL…but its pressure he’s brought upon himself for embracing the ‘one size fits all’-mentality regarding “a closer”

    by StorminNorman$ on Jun 14, 2013 at 8:38 am

  56. SL – I think that 3/4 is unacceptable. It’s gotta be a min of 4/5, closer to 5/6.

    Our closer may already be pitching in the 8th.

    BTW – only Fernando Rodney has a worse save % this year…http://hosted.stats.com/mlb/ge.....p?rank=131. Shows you how unpredictable bullpens can me.

    by Kevin in Dallas on Jun 14, 2013 at 8:42 am

  57. Ironically–considering that you posted your link in response to the Papelbon rumor–if you look at the picture illustrating the column arguing that closers are overrated, there is Papelbon himself.

    by Coleman on Jun 14, 2013 at 8:45 am

  58. in ’84 Hernandez and Lopez combined for almost 280 innings, and went a combined 19-4 with 46 saves… not bad for a “set up guy” and a “closer” (following the post-1990 vernacular)

    by StorminNorman$ on Jun 14, 2013 at 8:45 am

  59. Kevin, you’re right, 75% is setting the sights pretty low. On the other hand, blown saves and losses can be different things.

    Total AL Saves/Save Opps = 69.2% (256/370)

    Bullpens with 75% and under conversion but good W-L:

    Kansas City 13-10 (68%)
    Baltimore 14-9 (64%)
    Oakland 12-3 (75%)
    Boston 11-8 (60%)
    Cleveland 8-4 (50%)

    Valverde blew the save Wednesday, but Coke lost the game. (He did rescue the 9th, however.) The Tigers 4-12 bullpen record says a lot, most of it not about Valverde.

    Tigers pitching 9th inning and later is middle of the pack (though AL tops or near it in ER, HR, and K). As we know, Tigers 9th and after hitting is so miserable that I won’t even go into it but to say they sit at the bottom of the AL. One detail: 2 HR is 266 PA. Let me say that again: 2 HR in 266 PA. 9 XBH total. And there we have a sizable chunk of that 4-12 W-L that we can lift from the bullpen’s shoulders.

    Maybe what the Tigers need is not a closing pitcher, but some closing hitters.

    As maddening as I find Benoit because of his slow pace and the near-certainty that he can’t go an inning without allowing a hit or a walk, yes, he could have and should have already been the closer. Of the 8th-9th inning type, even if that’s against the current rules. I’m sure he could go two, and if the 9th became a struggle, the Tigers have a number of very good 1-2 out options, starting with Coke and Downs. And if Benoit should be unavailable for the 2-inning save when it’s called for twice in a row… Smyly.

    by Smoking Loon on Jun 14, 2013 at 6:32 pm

  60. Thanks, SN$. I’m loving it.

    Leyland: “Who the (expletive) should I close with? Who do you want me to close with? Who the (expletive) do you want to be the closer? … I don’t know what the (expletive) these people want.”

    The People: Many Tigers fans — or at least about 24% of the first 6,500 who responded to a freep.com poll — think Drew Smyly should be closing, and another 23% like Joaquin Benoit.

    And there you have it. He’s got questions, we’ve got answers.

    by Smoking Loon on Jun 14, 2013 at 6:35 pm

  61. it boils down to this (well, maybe not 100%, but I am a simple man):

    Joaquin Benoit is a BETTER PITCHER than Jose Valverde. So are Drew Smyly, Darin Downs and Phil Coke. Why do we put our worst reliever in the game at all, let alone in the 9th to protect a lead?

    by William on Jun 14, 2013 at 6:51 pm

  62. “I don’t know what the (expletive) these people want.”

    here you go Jim …..

    someone who doesn’t blow saves repeatedly. someone who doesn’t automatically concede second base when a runner reaches 1st. someone who has more than one pitch they can throw for strikes. someone who has the confidence of his teammates (seriously…after the debacles in Oakland and New York last year, can the Potato really be looked at as a key cog in this team?)

    by William on Jun 14, 2013 at 6:55 pm

  63. Well put. The track record suggests that Valverde is not the worst reliever currently in the bullpen (though he’s working on it), but what we see suggests otherwise.

    Is there a role for Valverde? Is there something he could excel at? Serious question.

    by Smoking Loon on Jun 14, 2013 at 7:10 pm

  64. Dollars to donuts bringing Valverde back was JL’s idea, which would go a long way to explaining the pressure getting to him. Leyland’s comfort level (very important to him) revolves around having players on the roster he has previously managed (security issues?), regardless of current ability to produce. Think Gary Sheffield, Neiffi Perez, Jose Mesa, all from the old Marlins days and past their primes when signed by the Tigers.

    by Vince in MN on Jun 14, 2013 at 7:30 pm

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