Morning Prowl: Coke vs. Righties, Who’s the Closer and Santiago’s Struggles


Back in my Bless You Boys days, I came up with “Morning Prowl” for the title to our links posts. I figured that was something I’d have to leave at BYB, and I think Kurt, Al and the gang would’ve been fine keeping it. I hope they don’t mind us using it here.

However, in these days of SEO and keyword-rich titles, a headline without “Detroit Tigers” in it doesn’t really bring in the traffic. Not that we’re overly concerned such stuff here at The Daily Fungo, but it’s nice to know we can be a little more creative with our titles and headlines.

Anyway, it’s been a while since I’ve done links posts at BYB or MLive, so I might have to shake some rust off. That includes knowing where to look for good stuff. Hopefully, most of these links will be new to you.

•• If Tigers manager Jim Leyland thought Phil Coke could get over his inability to pitch effectively versus right-handed hitters, the lefty’s performance in his first three appearances of the season have shown him otherwise.

Coke allowed a .396 batting average and 1.050 OPS against righties last year. Not really what you’d like to see from a potential closer. Yet Leyland figured he’d give Coke a try in that match-up, apparently. To little surprise, it hasn’t gone well.

The Detroit News‘ Lynn Henning tries to figure out why Coke struggles so much against righties. Coke isn’t throwing his secondary pitches, but that might be because he’s not locating his fastball properly and can’t work from there. [Detroit News]

•• Should Darin Downs be Detroit’s closer? That’s one of many observations Motor City Bengals’ John Verburg has about the Tigers and AL Central. [Motor City Bengals]

•• It’s looking more like Joaquin Benoit could be the ninth-inning man for the Tigers, as much as Leyland doesn’t want the media to label anyone as “the closer” right now. Personally, I’ve always thought Benoit was signed to a three-year deal to take over for Jose Valverde after his contract expired. [Oakland Press]

•• Robert Sanchez wrote a heartbreaking feature on Max Scherzer,  his brother Alex and the family’s attempt to cope with Alex’s suicide that is definitely worth your time to read. The pictures alone are extremely touching. []

•• Does Al Alburquerque commit a balk every time he delivers a pitch? That’s what New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi tried to argue during Saturday’s 8-4 loss to the Tigers. Major league umpires obviously don’t agree. []

•• Leyland is giving utility infielder Ramon Santiago a chance to keep his spot on the roster, starting him at second base on Saturday and shortstop on Sunday. Santiago went 1-for-8 in the two games, which surely didn’t boost his manager’s confidence. Will he make it through the season with the Tigers? []

•• Are you still in disbelief that Jason Grilli is the Pittsburgh Pirates’ closer? (Did you even know Grilli was the Pirates’ closer?) After posting a 2.91 ERA with 90 strikeouts in 58.2 innings last year, the former Tigers reliever got the nod in Pittsburgh. In two appearances this season, Grilli hasn’t allowed a run and he’s excited about the opportunity he’s been given.  [Yahoo! Sports]

Published by

Mike McClary

Upbeat guy.

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