Monday, August 13, 2012
Tigers Bullpen Will Make them Miss Playoffs
To be honest, Anibal Sanchez didn't have a good game, something that is becoming a bit of a routine in a Tigers uniform. But when Manager Jim Leyland finally, mercifully, gave him the hook on Monday night, the Tigers were down just 3-1 to the lowly Minnesota Twins. That was before the bullpen got the ball.
After Sanchez struggled, Leyland went to his situational lefty Phil Coke, instead of his more reliable long-relief man, Duane Below. Coke has experienced his own struggles of late, and things weren't much different Monday night. The Twins were able to plate both of the runners that Coke inherited and then went on to beat up on the aforementioned Below.
In the seventh inning Ryan Doumit crushed a Below offering for three runs that gave the Twins an insurmountable lead. The offense wasn't able to hit a pitcher that had been described as wild and the pitcher that the Tigers traded a future No. 1 starter for continued to do less than impress, but the bullpen sealed the casket on this game.
After the game it was announced that Detroit was sending Duane Below to Toledo and recalling Luke Putkonen. While this move is clearly not motivated by Below's performance, it goes to show that the bullpen has been so poor lately that it has been taxed to the point that the Tigers are forced to bring in fresh arms from the minors to keep up with the innings needed.
Why it was Below that was sent down and not the hit serving Coke or Brayan Villarreal is not known. But this Tigers team needs changes in the bullpen and they need them now. When Al Albuquerque comes off the DL he needs to be in the pen, Below needs to be in the pen and Villarreal needs to be riding the pine in Toledo while Detroit gets a look at the phenom known as Bruce Rondon.