In what may have been the worst loss of the Jim Leyland era, the Tigers blew a 4 run lead in the 9th to lose to the Indians 12-11. Todd Jones came into this one in the 8th inning, the first time he has entered a game before the 9th inning in two years. He did not have it. He gave up a couple of hits and a run in the 8th. He was hurt by by a Curtis Granderson throwing error but also aided by a sliding catch of a line drive by Magglio Ordonez ending the inning. The Tigers led 9-7 after 8 innings.
The Tigers then scored 2 runs in the 9th to take an 11-7 lead and Jones came back out to finish it. He proceeded to allow a one out single single to Casey Blake, a walk to Travis Hafner, a 3 run homer to Victor Martinez, and a double to Jhonny Peralta. Tiger fans watched in horror as Jim Leyland refused to pull Jones from the game. He did get Ryan Garko on strikes for the second out but then Leyland ordered Jones to walk Trot Nixon intentionally. This put the winning run on base which is generally considered a baseball no no. Josh Barfield followed with a single to tie it. David Dellucci followed with a game winning single.
Like Billfer, I rarely hold managers accountable for losses because they have so much more information than me. However, I have to pin the blame for this one on Leyland as much as Jones. Jones clearly did not have it and wound up throwing 46 pitches which is way beyond his usual workload. The Tigers have no depebdable relievers on the staff right now but a fresh arm should have been brought in for the struggling Jones. Bobby Seay was warming up during the 9th but was never used.
Starting pitcher Mike Maroth also lost a 4 run lead in this one. He gave up 4 runs in the 6th inning as a 5-1 lead became a 5-5 tie very fast. Jhonny Peralta and Jason Michaels each crushed 2 run homers. He had also allowed a solo shot to Victor Martinez in the 4th.
So baseball's best pitching staff of 2006 has turned into a mess this year. Most of the problem is with the bullpen but the starters have had their problems as of late as well. Chad Durbin, who has surpsisingly been one of their most consistent pitchers over the past month, will give it a shot tomorrow night versus Cliff Lee