Anibal Sanchez struggled to start the game but settled down to pitch 5 scoreless innings. Darin Downs came in throwing BBs and it was looking like the Detroit Tigers would hold on to their one run lead. Then the closer committee was called to order and was unable to adjourn with a win.
Joaquin Benoit started the eighth inning and although he struggled with control was able to get out with the lead in intact. With Phil Coke warming up in the bullpen, the Detroit Tigers failed to score off of Minnesota Twins closer Glen Perkins setting the stage for a Twins rally in the 9th. Benoit started the 9th and walked lead-off hitter Trevor Plouffe. Rod Gardenhire inserted pinch runner Jamey Carroll as the left-handed Chris Parmalee dug into the batters box. Jim Leyland then called for the closer and Phil Coke sprinted in from the bullpen. Then Coke got Parmalee to fly out to right field. With Brian Dozier (.232 in ’12) and Eduardo Escobar (.216 career) up next, the Detroit Tigers should’ve felt pretty good about their chance to close out the win.
But as Torii Hunter said during the Fox Sports Detroit post-game interview “it’s not over until that fat lady starts singing”.
And she wasn’t even warmed up.
Brian Dozier singled moving Jamey Carroll to third base and then the improbable hero Eduardo Escobar doubled in two runs to walk-off with a Minnesota Twins victory. Phil Coke went from yesterday’s hero (2/3 innings 0 hits 0 runs) to today’s Coke zero (1/3 inning 2 hits 2 ER). But thats how the closer’s role goes sometimes. Or is it?
Yesterday, Leyland seemed to play a lefty vs. lefty match-up in the ninth. Today Coke seemed to be the closer, no matter the match-up. Jim Leyland let him pitch to right handed hitters. Odd considering right handers hit .396 against Phil Coke in 2012.
So who will Jim Leyland chose to close the game tomorrow? We will “stick with the staus-quo” the skipper said during the postgame interview with Fox Sports Detroit.
What is the “status quo”?
I move to table this decision until tomorrow’s meeting. All those in favor……