Friday, June 09, 2006

Tiger Bullpen Collapses in 8th

The Tigers looked like they were off to a nice start to the weekend series in Toronto. They had a 5-2 lead going into the bottom of the 8th and Jamie Walker retired Greg Zaun, the only batter he faced, on a fly to center for the first out of the inning. It would be a long time before we would see the second out. Here's what happened:

Fernando Rodney relieved Walker
Scott Hillenbrand homered
Aaron Hill singled
Alexis Rios walked

Todd Jones relieved Rodney
Reed Johnson singled
Frank Catalanotto singled
Vernon Wells tripled
Troy Glaus singled

Bobby Seay relieved Jones
Lyle Overbay singled
Gregg Zaun singled
Hillenbrand hit a sacrifice fly for the second out

In case you lost track, that's 9 straight base runners. Eight runs scored. The Tigers lost 10-5. It was a tough inning to watch as a fan but even tougher for Jim Leyland. He was visibly annoyed when he took Rodney out of the game. When Jones started getting shelled, he looked like he would explode. I have not seen Leyland look so upset in a game as a Tiger manager.

I think we might see some changes in the bullpen really soon. Jones now has a 7.29 ERA. Reliever ERAs can be deceptive but, in his case, I think it's a good reflection of how he has actually pitched. He can not be trusted to close games now. Rodney has had a rough week as well and I'm not sure whether Leyland would put Zumaya in that role yet even if he is the most effective reliever right now. He's not afraid to put rookies in key roles though so you never know.


  1. AnonymousJune 10, 2006

    Lee, Do you think that Leyland may have made some mistakes in the way he's managed the bull-pen ?

    I'm concerned that he's used no one but Zumaya/Rodney/Jones in pressure situtations for most of the season. I realize these are the best pitchers in the pen, but at some point you have to see if anyone else can handle close game roles. Now it appears we desperatly need another reliable releiver to replace Jones with and I've no idea who it will be and if they can handle the role or not.

    Maybe I'm just frustrated from tonights results.

  2. Walker has also pitched in pressure situations even if it's usually just a couple of batters. I don't really have a problem with the way Leyland has handled the bullpen. I think most managers have a limited number of pitchers they use in key spots. I think his job is going get a lot tougher now though.

  3. AnonymousJune 10, 2006

    I agree. It's hard to remember some Walker outings because they are usually so short. When he's out there for an extended period it's usually in a mop up role.

    If he'd been allowed to pitch the entire 8th tonight who knows what would have happened, but that is not a far to anyone to really question. I agreeded with the decesion to bring Rodney in at the time Leyland did.

    I'm just worried that Zumaya is making more appearances than he should at his age and risks the chance of being overused.

    Thanks for the reply

  4. I'm with you Lee. Reading Leyland's body language (and lips) during the 8th leads me to believe the bullpen is going to be shaken up - at least for a few games.



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