Todd Jones on bullpen scrutiny

“The storyline’s been set by everybody. Everybody wants to take their shots at the bullpen and make fun of them and stuff like that. It hurts, because these guys down there, we’re trying to do the best we can. Everybody wants to make a knock-knock joke out of our bullpen, and I think it [ticks] me off. You can look at it any way you want to, but we just have to try to go out there, make pitches and try to get guys out.”

“Once Joel last year got hurt, everybody wanted to kind of point at the bullpen as being a weakness. With Fernando going down this year, guys out there trying to make pitches and not doing, it’s just going to be a self-fulfilled prophecy. You guys are going to write about it, and everybody’s going to just wait until late in the game and a lead gets away and they’ll say, ‘We told you.’ But the truth of the matter is, all of these guys on this staff can get guys out, or they wouldn’t be here. These are the guys that we’ve got. We’re going to go with them, and that’s the way it’s going to be. We need to embrace some of these guys instead of kick them.

24 Comments

Agree 100% Todd. If you put negative energy into a delicate situation, it produces a bad outcome. And don’t under estimate the influence of fan energy.

Besides, it’s too simplistic to say because we were winning 3-0 at one point and lost the game that it was the bullpen’s fault. The opportunties to win were there, and it just didn’t happen. On to the rest of the season….

Good points by Jonesie. Negativity produces nothing but negative results. If a guy has his head in the game, makes no mental errors and does his best, what more can you ask? A couple of better hitting approaches in key situations and this one goes in the books as a win.
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I’d rather direct my negative comments at what’s been done to MLB websites and blogs. What is that 200+ items being downloaded at every page reload? This is the slowest site I visit at this point in time. Why does a “page not found” message appear then you can hit the back button and be on the page? I hope these are just growing pains.
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–Rich

Not sure what’s going on with the MLB site. I imagine some of the slowness today comes from opening day, but if it continues into the rest of the week, then there’s a problem. It does seem, though, like the facelift given to the site takes up more bandwidth.

if it doesn’t take up more bandwidth, it still takes up more time to load, post, and imo the font/background classes annoyingly. too bright of a background on with black font messes everything together. .
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anyways, jones is right, we need to give the BP a chance. they only ‘technically’ gave up 2 runs today. and the 1 run was charged to verlander. *shrug* i like what i saw of the next mr. american, denny bautista (geez he wont make the SI cover), aqi lopez i thought looked good, and grili and seay got their jobs done… all and all not a bad outting, i think JL wishes he hadn’t put grili or seay in as 1 batter relief though as the game got into 10/11th inning.
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still think the game would’ve been won if polanco hadn’t been robbed at 3rd. .

btw, i just thought i’d mention what a spectacular throw inge had to home plate today. i’ve not been a huge inge support since ‘the trade,’ but that throw couldn’t have been any more on the money. perfect.

Comments from being at the game:
Rich, they had a video with Harwell giving his quote at the beginning of the game…made me feel good, but lot of the new fans around me didn’t know what it was about…
The crowd just didn’t seem to be in it at the beginning of the game, not the normal excitement. The atmosphere did change after Inge’s throw to home though, and stayed there for the rest of the game…
Bathroom breaks (oh my…) I have NEVER seen it like this, I went and it took 1 1/2 innings to get in. The lines were longer then the ladies! (I know they were enjoying that)…
Jones did well, as well as Bautista (they had one pitch clocked at 101). I didn’t get to see Grilli and Seay due to my bathroom expedition…
Dan, your right Ret did look out of his element…hopefully he can get in the swing of things.
Jason, thanks for the DeJesus comment, thought it was an injury, since having a pinch hitter in the second was strange…
Shef was working it…he had what 4 walks, and he earned each one. Appeared that he was not getting good calls from the home or 1st base ump from my location…
OK…I stop writing…don’t want to bore too much…
Waz

The loss was disappointing. Looked very similiar to 2007 – bull pen not holding and Tigers not getting that hit or sac fly at clutch times. I agree with Verlander that one game does not a season make, but the loss sure took some wind out of our salls! Now being behind KC in the standings!

JV should not have been brought out to start the seventh. Period….. If Rodney & Zoom would have been available, we would not have seen Verlander.

Todd makes some good points. I sure don’t blame the loss on the bullpen. There were plenty of chances for the Tigers to win and they just didn’t capitalize on them. Lamont letting Maggs go home instead of staying on 3rd with that guy in their OF throwing the ball was one mistake. The season’s just getting started and there’s still a little bit of rust showing. Let’s give ‘em a chance!

So, Jason, what did you say to tick Jonesie off so badly?

You press people, throwing your weight around… ;-)

matt

CNNORTON, I agree with you all the way. The pen not quite being able to hold it and the hitters not getting runs in almost automatic run situations. Looked a lot like the end of last year to me to.

By the way I take the blame for Polanco. I had him as my hitter for the BEAT THE STREAK contest yesterday to get a hit. Who ever would of thunk that he would go 0-6 certianly not me.

Comments on the comments:
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Waz, I saw that same bathroom phenomenon at Osceola Stadium in Kissimmee this month, and it contributed to my overall bad review of the place. :-) FSN was clocking Bautista at 99 mph. Both are probably on the high side, but no matter, the dude was bringing it. We may have something here. Regarding umpires, seemed to me that Welky (home) was inconsistent throughout. Merriwether over there at first, however, nailed each and every one of those check swing calls, and there were some tough ones. Good job there.
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Mr. Farms :-) Good point about Verlander being sent out for the seventh. It points to another issue, however, and that is the one about the starters getting that extra third or two thirds innings. That means gettting two outs in the seventh, mainly. For being so dominant, I don’t know why JV’s pitch count was in the mid-90s after the sixth innning. On the other hand, how many starters go far when being allowed only 90-100 pitches? Anyway, that leaves the pen to get nine outs, not seven. Grilli comes into an impossible situation, men on first and third and NONE out. What’s he supposed to do, strike out the side? As a fact, he nearly pulled off striking out Buck then getting the DP. I wonder who called the final fastball to Buck. That situation screamed for a change of speed or a breaking ball. That’s been the problem with Grilli, he needs to use that hook in big situations.
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Bud, I saw Jose Guillen play a lot in Washington and he does have a gun out there. The thing was, his throw was away from the plate and it was actually the catcher Buck who made the good play. Maggs executed a nice slide, nothing he could do there.
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Oh well, this off day gives us a chance to analyze the opener to death, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
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–Rich

Hey guys,

I am at work and just got a chance to log on to see everyone’s comments. I don’t think the bullpen focus is all that fair. I didn’t see the game but I had it up yesterday on gameday and it seemed to me that the two main factors were:

1) The Tigers not taking advantage of a couple of early run scoring opportunities.
2) Verlander not being able to get anyone out in the seventh.

We complained a lot last year that Leyland took the starters out after six innings last year only to see the bullpen blow the lead (at least that’s how I remember it). Furthermore, Leyland pointed out this spring that the best way to address our bullpen issues it get a few more outs from the starters. If Verlander is our stud– and he is– then we need to rely on him for a couple extra outs– regardless of his pitch count. (and with his throwing motion, 110 pitches shouldn’t be too tough.)

As a contract to Verlander, look at what Meche did in the bottom of the 7th– he came out with a similarly high pitch count (I think his was even higher than Justin’s) and got three outs in about 5 pitches. That’s how teams go from good to great: they take advantage of opportunities and they close the door when needed.

Let’s all hope Kenny shuts them down and the Tigers hop on Bannister early.

Brent

PS– I think they should send out a reliever in the first to throw at Grudzelaniak. That guy always seems to kill us.

Thats funny GK, I used Polly also for the “Beat the Streak”. Thought i was the one putting the hex on him.
Renteria had a bad day yesterday but it think he’ll come around.
The guy im’m more concerned with is J Jones. He didnt even seem to be close to figuring it out. He scares me.

Jones is a very streaky hitter. The advantage here is, if Jacques really becomes a problem, we can go to Timo, Thames, Raburn, Thomas, or even Inge.
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JL certainly sent JV out there to get those one or two outs, but it didn’t happen. That’s not a bullpen problem. Hey Jason, tell Todd to read this blog. :-)
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–Rich

The starters will need to get that extra 1/3, 2/3 or full inning eventually. If JL wants to instill some confidence into the ‘pen, he should have marched out Grilli to start the 7th. I didn’t go back and check but what was the highest pitch count for JV in the spring? To be in the mid-90′s after six in your 1ST!! start of season should be enough.

TJ is a little too defensive about the bullpen. Talking about self-fulfilling prophecies and such is almost liking building an excuse system for later use.
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There will alwlays be times when the bullpen can’t hold a lead or pitch effectively. The trick is in minimizing them. Wheter Jones likes it or not the bullpen has been identified as a problem area by his peers, his mates his manager, the media and the fans. We all (the bullpen included) need to get beyond that.
I too was a little surprised to see JL trot Verlander back out (because of the pitch count early in the season). But I also realize his master plan is to get 6+ out of his starters as a template for success.
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I hope JJ can get it together but if he doesn’t it was still not a bad move by management to acquire him. The investment in him is not onerous and the alternatives are, as Rich stated, ready to perform. Thomas can even provide the LHB role if need be. Then there is always Timo–the guy does hit the ball for us after all.

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The club definitely needs to cut down on the Ks. Success will be coupled with keeping them to a point where they can be counted on one hand half the time.

I also noted that JL tried to squeeze another inning out of JV. Based on what we understand to be normal circumstances he would have had FR in the 7th with JZ in the 8th before turning the ball over to TJ in the 9th. A perfect world I know but I also agree with the point made about JL going to whoever out of the bullpen at the top of the 7th and just let the chips fly.

Statistics that stood out to me:

Sheffield walks: 4

This is great. This is just what he does, making pitchers throw a lot of balls, and getting on base.

Cabrera errors: 1

After how many errors will people start clamoring for Cabrera to go to right, with Inge at third?

Comment: I hate the new layout. It’s no fun to read. Please bring the olod one back, or at least make it pleasing to the eyes!

Couldn’t agree with you more, Steve, about the layout. Afraid that’s an MLB thing though, and nothing to be done for it. They’ve also made the blogs free so I can only imagine the millions of people who now have blogs that no one reads. No wonder the site runs so slow.
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A little off topic, but what the heck. Jason, I read your story about Granderson and basketball. I joined his group and to say that Grandy’s bracket was “less than amazing” was being kind. That poor guy’s bracket was in SHREDS from day one. :-) I was doing pretty good myself but somehow I had Wisconsin in the Final Four. That must have slipped by me, because I usually make it policy to not choose Big Ten teams. I was at 99.9% before that game. My best ever? Back in the 90s on CBSSportsline, one of the early on line contests. I finished in a tie for third. Okay, it was a massive tie, but third nonetheless. We didn’t have all the zillions of participants back in those days.
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–Rich

The thing about the layout, is that is isn’t clear at a glance who has posted what. The nicks are listed after the posts instead of before, which is bad. Also, they are divided by a line which makes it look at first glance as if the poster’s nick is indeed listed first. It’s only anooying, but layout is not supposed to be annoying! I am aware this isn’t Jason’s decision, but wanted to make my voice heard about this. I have enjoyed this blog for many years now, and it is my best way to keep up with the Tigers as an expatriot in Japan.

Well, I’ll start out with a comment on “priceless” My daughter was asking me about ‘who’s your Tiger’ and I have to admit it is now Granderson. Our family got together for my birthday yesterday (cheers) and in a bag was a picture of my MLB official Jersey. My Granderson jersey arrived today. Hurry up and get back in the line up Curtis, that is why we lost the game!
Now on the game. I would have taken JV out after he walked the lead off hitter, or like some of you said, why go out for the 7th inning but we need him to go 7 or 8.
If you don’t want us to complain about the bullpen, then somebody step up and prove you belong in the show.
That is all for now. I really enjoy reading everyone’s comments and am also trying to used to the new look site.
–Dave

Not to change the topic, but today I received an 8×10 personalized photo of Sheff. Am thrilled to death. He’s always bragging about the Detroit fans and I’m a big poster on his website and he surprised me with that one. He can walk all he wants….. long as he gets on base.

For the record, someone asked Todd about whether this is the kind of game fans should expect at times from the bullpen, an up and down type of performance starting out. Jones, who has grown to thrive off the perception of lack of respect, chimed in with the first quote. I followed up on that later, asking if he felt that way after Rodney got hurt or before, and he gave the second quote. There were a few others in there, one of which was in the game story.

Honestly, I posted the quotes in the blog because I was more surprised that Todd took umbrage on opening day (and on a day when he pitched well) than that the focus was on the bullpen on opening day. When your payroll balloons by more than $40 million to the highest in baseball outside of the Bronx, the storyline is set for any part of the team to be blamed when the Tigers lose a game late. If Cabrera’s throwing error had been in the 11th inning and led to the go-ahead run, that would’ve been the storyline. If it was a 2-1 Royals win instead of 5-4, that would’ve been the storyline.

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