Results tagged ‘ Jim Leyland ’
I’m not usually one to question the managing tactics of Jim Leyland, but lately I can’t help but wonder what he’s been thinking. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s done a fine job during his time here, but I can’t help but feel like he’s lately been making a few costly decisions.
As a manager, it’s your job to do what you can to put your players in the best possible position to be successful. Leyland’s done a perfect job of that for some players, such as Quintin Berry and Andy Dirks. It’s also not a complete surprise that Gerald Laird is having as good of a year as he has. Unfortunately, not everything has been working out so perfectly.
My biggest complaint and concern involves Leyland’s use of Phil Coke out of the bullpen. For whatever reason, he seems to be continually putting him a position where he simply can’t succeed. If I wasn’t as knowledgeable about baseball as I am, I’d almost think that he’s purposely trying to run him out of town.
Why is this you ask? For one simple reason, and that’s that Phil Coke should NOT be facing right-handed hitters. Entering today, right-handed hitters were batting .393 against him over 91 at bats, which isn’t exactly a small sample size.
So when the Minnesota Twins had runners on second and third with one out in the sixth inning, the Tigers trailed by a score of 3-1, certainly not insurmountable with the Tigers’ offense. In this crucial spot, Leyland brought in Coke to face the left-handed hitting Ben Revere. Revere then grounded out to first. This brought up the right-handed Darin Mastroianni.
Some options in this situation included walking Mastroianni to load the bases, but would allow Coke to face Joe Mauer, who bats left handed. Another option would be to bring in a right-handed pitcher, such as Octavio Dotel. The third option (and in my opinion the worst) was the one Leyland chose, and that was to let Coke face Mastroianni. Sure enough, he got a base hit and both runs scored. At that point, the game very much felt over.
The fact of the matter is that Phil Coke does not deserve a spot on the Tigers 25-man roster. Simply put, the Tigers need to find an upgrade for Coke if they want to have a chance to make it deep into the playoffs. As sad as it is to say, that shouldn’t be too hard to do.
In yesterday’s post-game interview, Jim Leyland voiced his opinion about accountability for umpires, and I think it’s a fair question to ask.
As a baseball player, you’re held accountable for your actions both on and off the field. If you’re not performing, you’re either going to be sent down to the minors or released. For a manager, if you can’t get your team to perform at the level they’re capable of, you’re not going to have a job very long. So why is it that umpires seemingly get a free pass?
There has been constant criticism against certain umpires in recent years, but yet there never seems to be any punishment handed down by Major League Baseball. When’s the last time you heard about an umpire getting fired or suspended for doing a continually bad job? Just think about that for a minute. Still thinking? That’s probably because it hasn’t happened .
It’s a seemingly flawed situation with no simple solutions, but it does deserve to be looked at. Does this mean MLB needs to further its use of instant replay, or have a more defined course of disciplinary action for umpires who aren’t performing their job?
I don’t know what the answer is, but it’ll be interesting to see if MLB makes any changes to their current system in the upcoming season. The way I look at it, everyone is responsible for the mistakes they make while they’re at work To me, it doesn’t matter if your an umpire, a doctor, or a cashier at a fast food joint. If you continually fail to do your job properly, you should be held accountable.
It is said that patience is a virtue, but when it comes to the Tigers, a lot of fans don’t have much left.
To put it simply, the Tigers have been underperforming their expectations for the year. Yes, it’s early in the year, but it hasn’t been pretty the last few weeks. The Tigers have more talent on their team than most teams in baseball, but yet we find them third in the AL Central. Who’s to blame?
I don’t think the fault can fall on any one person, but I’m sure you’ll hear a lot of names being mentioned. No, the Tigers aren’t losing because of Jim Leyland or Prince Fielder, but it’s really an issue of finding some sort of consistency.
When you look at a traditional playoff team, you often see a team with a great balance of pitching, hitting and defense. Right now, I’m not sure the Tigers are consistently performing in any of those categories.
The rotation has been hit or miss, with the exceptions of Doug Fister and Justin Verlander. Drew Smyly has also been solid as the fifth man in the rotation, too. The bullpen hasn’t been lights out, and there’s really no one in the bullpen that I have a ton of faith in at the moment.
Let us also not forget to mention the grab bag of second baseman we’ve had to use. Collectively, they’re barely hitting above their weight. Ryan Raburn (.144), Ramon Santiago (.188) and Danny Worth (.176) are not long-term solutions at second base, and unfortunately they’re the best we have right now.
Come the trade deadline (if not sooner), I would expect the Tigers to be seeking an arm or two out of the bullpen, plus a replacement for second base. If the Tigers continue to struggle through the end of July, it also wouldn’t shock me if the Tigers end up firing one of their coaches.
Until then, I’m going to do my best to be patient. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the Tigers are too good of a team to be only a .500 team. I refuse to panic, but my patience is certainly running thin.
So if you wanted to ask me who the Detroit Tigers second baseman will be on opening day, I could give you at least four different options that make sense. The Tigers have quite the rotation system in order for second base, and I’m not sure how good of a thing that is.
I can’t think of too many major league teams that are still actively unsure of their situation at second base, but the Tigers have more options than a kid in a candy store. Sure, the options aren’t necessarily that of an all-star caliber, but they all certainly provide a lot of good things to the table.
You have Ramon Santiago, the switch hitter. Santiago has been consistent, and it was rumored that he turned down a starting position offer from a few teams in order to come back to Detroit. There’s been questions about his durability (not his talent), otherwise he would certainly would have been able to find more offers as a free agent. Although Santiago offers the least amount of offensive power out of the group, he may very well be the most consistent offensive producer.
Another strong possibility for the opening day starter goes to left-handed hitting Don Kelly. Kelly has proven to be the true super-utility player, doing everything from pitching to catching in 2011 for Detroit. It wouldn’t necessarily shock me if Kelly gets slotted in on opening day (assuming Boston pitches the right-handed Josh Beckett), but only if Kelly can put up solid offensive numbers during Spring Training.
Then there’s Ryan Raburn. Simply put, unless opening day comes after July 31st, I don’t think Raburn is going to be nearly good enough offensively or defensively to give him the nod. Truth be told, it also wouldn’t shock me to see Raburn get traded prior to opening day. Despite his defensive limitations, he provides a strong right-handed bat which a lot of teams may be interested in, especially for such a low cost.
Every offseason usually provides some sort of story that has captured the attention of Detroit fans. I can’t think of a better example of that than with the story of Brandon Inge attempting to become the second baseman for Detroit. I’ve gone on record many times saying I love the fact that Inge is willing to do whatever he has to do to get playing time. I don’t get the people crying and complaining about the fact Inge is doing everything he can to get playing time. If you’re a coach, you want 25 people on your team with that competitive drive. After the Tigers signed Prince Fielder and decided to move Miguel Cabrera to third base, Inge found himself without a position.
He approached Tigers manager Jim Leyland and General Manager Dave Dombrowski and said he wanted a chance to be the second baseman. Since then, Dombrowski has made comments saying Inge looks like a natural who has been playing the position for over a decade. This says a lot about the athleticism of Brandon Inge, and if he can put up any sort of offensive numbers, I think it’s safe to say he’ll get a good share of playing time at second. Also take into consideration that the Tigers would have to eat six million dollars to cut him, it has to make you believe that they’re going to be at least willing to give him a shot.
For what it’s worth, I got my money on Inge. Who do you think will get the nod?
So today I was fortunate enough to be at the Tigers game where I witnessed Jim Thome become the eighth player in Major League Baseball history to hit at least 600 home runs. Despite it putting the Tigers in what proved to be an insurmountable deficit, the entire stadium rose to their feet and applauded.
To me, it seemed like the only logical thing to do. Here we were, some 40,000 fans in attendance (I apologize for not knowing the actual attendance) and we get to witness something that has only happened seven other times in history? As a fan of the game, and out of respect for Jim Thome, I gave what will most likely be the only standing ovation in my lifetime for an opposing player (or team). It wasn’t that I wasn’t cheering for the hometown team, but instead I was appreciating the historical moment that unfolded in front of my eyes.
As I was heading home, (much to my surprise and dismay) our local sports radio broadcasters were discussing how Detroit fans were overreacting, saying that we went overboard in our appreciation and respect for such a tremendous feat. Some listeners vehemently disagreed with that, whereas others agreed. Personally, I thought it was a classy move by all who witnessed it, and that seemed to be the consensus from both Tigers manager Jim Leyland and Jim Thome based off their respective post-game comments. I just don’t understand why sportsmanship by fans is considered a bad thing. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with booing against the opposing team (without being vulgar or profane), but then again, we boo when someone like Ryan Raburn makes an error for us. We’re spectators being entertained, and that’s what professional athletes do. They entertain us.
With all of that being said, I’m extremely proud of all the Tigers fans out there who decided to put their loyalties aside for a few moments, and appreciate history as it unfolded before our very eyes. Congrats once again to Jim Thome, I’m sure we’ll be seeing you in Cooperstown one day.