Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Detroit Tigers, Jim Leyland and his bullpen

Tigers manager Jim Leyland has long carried a reputation for being a master handling his bullpen. Of all the things strategic in nature, it's Leyland's biggest strength.
And it appears it will take all Leyland's skills in the postseason to carry the Tigers over the top.
In Monday's 4-3 loss at Minnesota, Leyland turned to a couple of the main ingredients he needs for the postseason.
It didn't work.
Left-hander Drew Smyly appeared to be the perfect set up man for the Tigers during the first half. His ERA was low, his WHIP below 1.00 and he was taking to the role, with Joaquin Benoit moved to closer, like a duck takes to water.
In the last two months, the wheels have kind of fallen off Smyly. His ERA has been well above 5.00 over the period. His WHIP has risen by a half-runner per inning. This not just statistical situation, but he is rarely hitting 90 mph on the radar gun and his pitches appear to have flattened out. He has been decidedly hittable. Monday he allowed back to back hits to left-handed hitters.
Jose Veras is likely going to be the Tigers setup man instead, but it didn't go well Monday.
Benoit is throwing well. However, it was the ultimate stretch for Leyland to have Benoit try to pull a Mariano Rivera in his prime task by closing a game with 1 2-3 innings Monday. That Benoit wasn't able to do it hardly qualifies as a surprise, even against the feeble-swinging Twins.
Ideally, there would be a couple plan B's here, and perhaps Rick Porcello will provide somewhat of answer in the postseason. He has been pitching exceptionally well. It would be a shame to waste it. Could that be as a late-inning reliever?
The case for Justin Verlander starting one of the Tigers' first two playoff games


Blogger Barry said...

Pat, you don't have to worried about pitching until someone in the Tiger's Brass grabs a brain and rest Miggy. I not falling for that he will not hurt his groin any more by playing. Really, really have not pull your groin before? I like to know where the Tigers MD got his education from. He not to going to catch Davis and is injury is causing him to regress more and more. He needs to rest ASAP or he will be having surgery.

11:52 AM 

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