By: Matt Dery
I have to admit I went to bed last night. Early. I watched the Tigers and Mariners and after seeing Phil Coke storm through the Seattle lineup in the bottom of the eighth inning, I figured it was safe to go to sleep. I was wrong. M’s score 3 in the ninth and win 3-2 as Octavio Dotel blows up and allows all 3 runs on a night where Jim Leyland did not have his closer, Jose Valverde, available. It has been that kind of season for the Tigs so far, but it is still very early. Yet, this was a game they have to win. Doug Fister was great and the Mariners offense is abysmal, so, you have to grab that W in that spot. In my opinion, Coke has to remain in that game and that is on the manager.
Jim Leyland is not a guy that I bash a lot, but I do think he messed up last night. Coke was cruising and only threw 8 pitches; why not leave him in for the ninth inning? The lefty threw a first pitch strike to all three hitters he faced and just embarrassed Michael Saunders and Dustin Ackley, striking both of those guys out. Just bring him back for the ninth! I know Dotel has closed games before, but play a hunch. Ride the hot man! I understand Seattle had two right-handed hitters up in the ninth, but so what? Coke retired Casper Wells in the eighth and he hits right-handed. Sometimes I think these managers over-think their decisions. Is it Leyland’s fault that the Tigs could muster just 2 runs against Blake Beavan and 4 no-name arms? Probably not, and guys have to perform, but, I do not like how he handled last night’s ninth inning.