Saturday, July 30, 2011

Phil Coke Shows Jacob Turner How Not To Pitch in His Debut

In a late night announcement the Detroit Tigers called up super prospect Jacob Turner to take the hill against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. This pushed Saturday's probable starter Duane Below into the Tigers bullpen and brought intense excitement to Detroit about Turner's MLB debut.

Turner was impressive in his debut, dueling with Dan Haren through 5+ innings of work. He threw 5.1 innings on Saturday surrendering only three hits and giving up just two runs on the day. His second earned run came around to score when Phil Coke hit a batter to drive him in.

In all, Turner was impressive; he showed that he still has to work on pitch location, as his pitch count was what drove him from the game, but he proved that he is everything that Tigers fans have been told about him. It may also has been due to jitters about starting in the show for the first time, but Turner struggled holding runners on the day, allowing four stolen bases behind him. With six strikeouts in his favor and the Angels hitting just .158 against him, Turner appears to be well on his way to the big club on a regular basis.

The Tigers played good defense behind Turner on Saturday, running down several long fly balls that he allowed and throwing out runners attempting to stretch singles to doubles. With any run support Turner may have won his debut, but he drew the short straw and had to attempt to out duel Haren. When he left the game in the 6th inning, Detroit was still tied with the Angels. The problem came when Manager Jim Leyland pulled Turner to bring in Phil Coke.

Coke entered the game and promptly allowed a double to Erik Aybar, pushing Howie Kendrick, Turner's runner, to third base before intentionally walking Mark Trumbo to load the bases. The walk of Trumbo was made to set up a possible double play to get the Tigers out of the inning; however, Coke hit Peter Bourjos driving in Kendrick to give Turner two earned runs on the day.

Jeff Mathis was then able to get a sacrifice fly off Coke to drive in another run, pushing the score to 3-1 in the Angels favor. With first base open and two outs Coke hit the very next batter to load the bases again for Torii Hunter, who flied out to right.

The Tigers were able to get runners on base against Haren but poor base running cost them at least one run in the later innings. In the 7th inning, Detroit was able to get runners on first and third with no outs before Victor Martinez grounded into a double play that could have been avoided. Magglio Ordonez was not coming home on contact and once Trumbo threw to second base to get Miguel Cabrera out Ordonez was tagged out at home plate. 

In the next inning Coke continued his struggles by surrendering two more runs before Leyland finally relieved him for Daniel Schlereth. Schlereth was able to keep the Angels from scoring any more, but the damage had already been done. The Angels lead 5-1 and that's all Haren needed.

Haren finished out the game on 113 pitches to get the win and spoil Turner's MLB debut. Coke has struggled in recent games and today was no different; he may be the one to benefit the most from the Tigers trade for Doug Fister and David Pauley. Pauley may be a right-handed reliever but his addition to the bull pen should allow Leyland more options in the later innings. Coke will benefit by not being counted on as often to come into situations with the game on the line, some time off may be just what he needs.

In all, Turner's debut was successful and Tigers fans should be very encouraged by his performance. With the addition of Fister to Detroit's rotation the Tigers pitching future is quite bright. Look for a rotation of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Fister and Turner in 2012 and beyond.

No comments:

Post a Comment