By Tom Millikan
The Tigers 5-4 loss in Arizona last night was the final straw for the bullpen. Brad Ausmus managed a textbook game. For all of you on Twitter questioning his decision to pull Porcello, you can go back to looking at farm porn.
Pulling Porcello was a textbook National League move. You don’t know the game if you think otherwise. The best managers make consistent decisions over and over again because over a 162 game schedule you’ll win most often doing so. But Twitter hacks just like to blame the new guy instead of blaming the most obvious guy: Phil Coke! This clown threw 11 pitches and only 3 were strikes. That is Ty Detmer like.
If your manager can’t manage textbook style, you won’t win a World Series. What last night showed was the true need for one more arm in the bullpen. I say only one arm because Drew Smyly will move to the bullpen in the playoffs and he’ll be your lefty. The Tigers MUST acquire a righty that they can rely on to pitch the 7th or 8th inning… OR… potentially close if Joe Nathan can’t right the ship.
What’s most troubling is the Tigers had that guy and let him go. His name is Joaquin Benoit. It was a cataclysmic mistake by Dave Dombrowski to let him walk. Dombrowski gets a bit of a pass because nobody knew Bruce Rondon wouldn’t be in the bullpen. However, we’ve seen that this bullpen can’t perform consistently, and that won’t win in October.
The simple move for Dombrowski and Mike Ilitch to make is to trade for Joaquin Benoit. He fits the role the Tigers need perfectly. He is comfortable playing here and he can close if need be. It’s a ‘whatever it takes’ move because the Tigers are in World Series or bust mode.
You’ve come this far Mike Ilitch, now it’s time to shove the chips all in. Give Brad Ausmus the same tools you gave Jim Leyland. Give your manager a fair shot. By fair I mean give him the chance to manage playoff games textbook style. The decision Ausmus made last night wins games 95% of the time. It’s like staying on 17 in Blackjack. Play the odds. Unfortunately the GM and owner of this team haven’t dealt their manager a fair hand.
Mike Ilitch: You deserve a World Series. You’ve done so much for the all of us. Now it’s time to pay one more time.
The witching hour has arrived. The next 9 days before the trade deadline may be the most important of this Tigers legacy. They have to win a World Series to justify this era of Tigers baseball. If not, they’ll go forgotten like the Philadelphia Eagles of the early 2000s. Anybody remember them? I don’t think so.