Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Stink Is Growing...Get Rid of Schlereth

By Sean Gagnier

It's the seventh inning and the Tigers are up two runs with a runner on base. The starter has thrown 110 pitches and needs to be relieved, there are lefties that will be coming up in the order so Manager Jim Leyland looks at his bullpen card. Who is available - Duane Below, no, he's more of a long reliever. What about Phil Coke, well that could work, but where's the fun in that? No, lets go with Daniel Schlereth because we would rather not win the game.

Tigers fans know all too well the perils that come when Schlereth is on the mound. The stress that came with Fernando Rodney throwing in the late innings is nothing compared to the mediocrity that is Schlereth, at least Rodney eventually earned a save.

Yes, Detroit needs a left-handed reliever. Do they need three, that's debatable, but Leyland likes the options that come with having three southpaws in the bullpen. Below has shown that he is an adequate spot starter but can be invaluable out of the bullpen as a long relief pitcher. Coke has been solid and shows no signs of that changing any time soon. Schlereth, however, has alway been terrible. There were glimpses of what he could be, then he was sent to Triple-A Toledo to improve. He returned but his improvement was short lived.

As of Thursday morning Schlereth's line was less than impressive; four appearances, 4.0 innings pitched, six hits allowed, four runs allowed, two home runs, three walks, a 4.50 ERA and a 2.25 WHIP. Those numbers would be expected of a Triple-A player who is competing in Toledo, not those of a big league pitcher. Add in his line from Thursday night against the Texas Rangers; 1.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO, 12.60 ERA and you have a clear decision to make.

Two things need to be done with Schlereth, he needs to inherit his father's nickname and become "Stink," because well, he does. And he needs to either be offered as trade bait for some unsuspecting team or sent down to Toledo to completely retool his game to actually get good.

There are options in Toledo that could fill his role on the Tigers, Brayan Villarreal. He was performing well with the Tigers when he was sent down to the Mud Hens to make room for Adam Wilk to come to Detroit and fill the hole left in the rotation when Doug Fister was injured. In Villarreal's three appearances with Detroit in 2012 he threw 1.1 innings, and allowed one hit while keeping opponents from scoring and not walking any batters.

It is understandable that Leyland would want to keep three lefties in his bullpen, but when one consistently hurts your team each time he is brought into the game it is time to cut the cord. Get rid of Stink and bring back Villarreal.

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