Sunday, August 1, 2010

Oh, Snap

I hate recapping these types of games and I’m glad I don’t have to do it that often. It’s an understatement to say that the bullpen has had issues in this series (with the exception of Robbie Weinhardt). Max Scherzer was good, although he was dodging bullets all day before his pitch count got to him. Ryan Perry also dodged some bullets, but you can’t keep flirting with danger like that. And while I do question keeping Jose Valverde in for 60 pitches on Friday night, at the same time, in the grand scheme of a season, there are gonna be games in which your closer is unavailable. Either he’s thrown 60 pitches the night before, or he’s pitched three or four days in a row. And in those cases, someone else in the bullpen has got to be able to step up and get the save himself. Phil Coke didn’t do that. Everything hit off him was an absolute rocket shot. And that’s why I don’t really have a problem with intentionally walking Youkilis, because there’s no reason to believe he would not have hit the ball hard somewhere. Offensively, the Tigers actually got to Dice-K a little bit, moreso than they normally do. However, once the Boston bullpen came in, the offense kind of shut down.

The Tigers finish up this long and nasty road trip today, and they’re gonna need Justin Verlander to go very deep into this game because right now the bullpen is in shreds. Valverde’s still unavailable, Coke is unavailable, and Perry might be unavailable (I’m not sure about Weinhardt). Verlander did pitch a complete game in his last start, although it was a loss. He last faced the Red Sox last year, which was a 2-0 Tigers win (Verlander went eight innings in that game). Several of the Red Sox have hit home runs off him. Ortiz and Beltre have both hit one, Youkilis has hit two, and Victor Martinez (who has been on everything in this series) has hit four. The Red Sox counter with Clay Buchholz, who is currently second in the league in ERA. In that 2-0 win last year, Buchholz was the losing pitcher, but he beat the Tigers earlier this year. Johnny Damon probably will be out of the lineup again with the back problems, which is disappointing because I was curious as to what the reaction from the Fenway crowd will be.


  1. You're right, but here's why I don't like the walk to Youk: To force the same result, Youkilis would have had to hit a home run. By walking him, the game can be won with a double. Even if Youkilis crushes a ball, any non-HR would only have tied the game. By putting the winning run on, with less than two outs, for Ortiz substantially increases the probability of losing that game.

    But again, the way Coke was pitching, they probably would have lost anyway. And perhaps pitching to Youkilis would just have delayed the inevitable or, gasp, pushed the game into extras which would have been even worse. Who would have pitched?

  2. That's a fair point. I can see both sides to the argument. Were I in Leyland's shoes, I probably would've had Coke pitch to Youkilis, but I understand why he issued the IBB (lefty matchup, double play possibility, Ortiz was 0-for-8 against Coke). Fortunately, intentionally putting the winning run on base is not something that Leyland does very often (off the top of my head, I can only think of two other instances where he's done it, one of which was the night before, and in both those instances the gamble paid off, but eventually you're gonna get burned, and in those two cases, there were already two outs).