Detroit Tigers reliever Phil Coke has been pretty inconsistent over the last two seasons. His unstable performances on the mound led to rumors that Coke was unhappy with his situation in Detroit and that the Tigers pitcher actually wanted to be released so he could seek a fresh start elsewhere.
However when Coke was asked about the allegations last Saturday night, he was astonished, per The Detroit News.
“What? Wow,” he said, setting off a 20-minute conversation about some of the highs and lows of his Tigers career, which began in 2010. “That couldn’t be further from the truth. That is shocking to me.”
“No wonder y’all hate me so much.”
Coke has caught a lot of flack from Tigers fans over last few seasons for his irregular play. During the Tigers 2012 World Series run Coke however, pitched brilliantly. The same fans that booed him, believed he should be the Tigers closer.
Than came 2013 and the chants of “Phil must go” echoing through Comerica Park.
Coke went 0-5 with a 5.40 ERA and 1.67 WHIP, which earned him a stint with Triple A Toledo.
So far this season he’s 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA and 1.62 WHIP.
Coke’s side of the story goes like this:
“During the 2012 World Series, I can’t tell you why things went the way they did,” Coke said. “But last year I thought my elbow was going to blow up every time I pitched. But I said I was going to keep going out there until it blows. I was giving it everything I had. I will always do that.
“I’m going to take my lumps now and then, but it is not for lack of effort.”
“I feel like I am pitching my butt off,” Coke said. “I really do.”
Whether you’re a supporter of Coke or you’re not, he vows to have the same goal as Tigers fans, winning a World Series.
“I love this place,” he said. “I enjoy Detroit and the surrounding areas. I enjoy the people here. I take pride in what I do. I take pride in feeling like I’m a piece of the community.
“I feel that sense of duty to go out and do my job.”
Unfortunately for Coke, the Tigers bullpen as a whole has struggled tremendously as of late. Hopefully Schertzer’s shutout performance last night will spark better play. If it doesn’t, that World Series goal will become less and less likely to be reached this year.