Phil Coke Addresses Tigers Bullpen Image, Personal Struggles
DETROIT (97.1 The Ticket) — The Detroit Tigers finally broke out of their offensive slump on Saturday in the form of seven runs in the third inning and 12 total on the afternoon.
Victor Martinez and hot-swinging rookie, Eugenio Suarez both belted home runs while the team batted 9-for-19 with runners in scoring position.
You wouldn’t think such a performance would also require a Tigers reliever getting a save, but Ian Krol tallied one in the Tigers’ 12-9 victory over the Minnesota Twins. Krol was one of four Tigers relief pitchers who posted a combined line of 2.2 innings pitched, eight hits, six earned runs and three walks.
Lefty Phil Coke, who pitched one inning in relief while surrendering three runs on three hits, addressed the media following the Tigers’ win and said that some people might not understand what the bullpen goes through on a day-to-day basis.
“The way it gets spun, I mean, it’s on how it gets spun,” Coke said. “Every single one of us down there cares, and every single one of us gives everything that we have every time we take the ball.
“So if you’re going to be upset about everybody going out there and pitching there ass off, I don’t have anything to say about that.”
The Tigers bullpen has an ERA of 4.60, better only than the Houston Astros (4.67).
Before Saturday’s outing, Coke had been working on a pretty good June — a 1.80 ERA and five strikeouts in six games.
“Well it’s nice to feel my arm not hurt,” Coke said. “So I would assume that that’s probably the biggest and best thing about everything.
“I don’t like making excuses for anything. I really don’t.”
Coke then said that some events in his life may have had an effect on how he has performed with the team this season.
“If you have an issue with a family member — somebody’s dying — these things affect everybody the same way,” Coke said. “I’m not speaking for anybody else outside of myself, but I’ve had my wife’s uncle just got done battling prostate cancer, I just lost somebody that I viewed and respected greatly in my life — I just lost her to cancer. I lost my grandmother and I didn’t even get to spring training yet — I was halfway across the country and I lost my grandmother.”
“These things happen and they affect everybody the same way,” Coke said. “I don’t know what’s going on in anybody else’s life because I’m not in their personal life, but I can tell you that those things affect you.”
It seems a long way away, but it wasn’t too long ago when Coke was spiking his glove into the pitcher’s mound as he pitched the Tigers into the World Series in 2012. If he could rekindle that fire now — when the Tigers need him, and the bullpen, most — the team may be back on track for a postseason run.