Notes from Brandon Lyon conference call

Just got off of a conference call with Brandon Lyon, his first remarks since signing with the Tigers. It’s clear the chance to close played a big role in his decision. He also said he heard good things about playing and living in Detroit from guys who had done it before, including former teammate Casey Fossum.

“After talking with him about all the places, it made me really really excited after I agreed to terms to come to Detroit,” he said. “It just reassured me it’s going to be a great place to go. I haven’t been to a different place in five years.”

An interesting remark was his view of what happened for him over the second half of last season. He said he had some trouble adjusting to the schedule of a closer, where he could work three straight days or could go a while without getting into a game.

“First half obviously went real well, starting out throwing real good, throwing quite a bit,” Lyon said. “I think the situation got to the point where I haven’t been in this role before. I just felt like I didn’t get enough work [at times] and I didn’t know how to prepare myself when I wasn’t working all the time. I think I’ve learned from that. There were times I wasn’t pitching for 7-8 days at all.”

His day-by-day breakdown backs him up on that. There were two stretches where he pitched three days in a row, and three of four others where he pitched three times in four days. But he also had some long stretches without work — a week between outings in early May, another in late May, another at the end of May and into June, two four-day stretches in June, then similar stretches in late July and August.

He also said that he got away from mixing in all his pitches later in the year and became too much of a two-pitch reliever with his fastball and curve, rather than adding his changeup and slider.

“I stuck to a conventional two-pitch pitcher,” he said. “When I started getting out of that and started using all my pitches is when I started being more successful at the end of the year.”


Interesting, the comments regarding a closer getting enough work during stretches. Todd Jones got so few opportunities last year that nearly any of us could have done the job. We were either losing or ahead by 5+ runs in the 9th. Here’s where I don’t understand the regimented thinking managers fall prey to. Let’s say your closer hasn’t pitched in a week and you find yourself tied in the 7th or 8th. Why not bring the guy in there? There are other pitchers on the staff who could have success following him. If that situation arose, I’d have no problem following the closer with a Rodney or Zumaya or Miner. If one manager were to play it that way and had success, all managers would do it.
I couldn’t get into the site for the Casey retirement entry. I just hope Sean can come out of his shell a little when he goes on the air. 🙂 Seriously, I’d personally rather have him entertaining me on the MLB Network than sitting in the Boston dugout. Good luck to a good man.

I think different managers handle the closer usage question differently, Rich. For comparison’s sake, I looked back at Todd Jones’ game logs the last three years. There were only about a handful of occasions in that entire time that he had more than four days’ rest, and only twice with more than five days’ rest — both in 2006. Generally, if Todd went a few days without pitching, unless he was getting over an injury or fatigue, Leyland and Chuck Hernandez would go into a game with a goal of getting him an inning.

I am glad we picked up Lyon. He will certainly help even if he isn’t the caliber we all had hoped we would go after. He has shown to be a money or clutch pitcher in the past..
I hope this doe not end their search for improving the pen. It would be a nice acquisition to scoop Cordero and with him, Zumaya, Rodney, Lyon, Seay and Miner I would say that is a pretty decent nucleus to work with.
I am surprised to hear such things as Larish fighting for the last roster spot. Last I looked we absolutely needed a LHB as the only other pure LHB on the squad is Curtis. We would be ill-advised to go north without Larish, who in my opinion, is one of those kinds of ballplayers that will figure out how to be a very good hitter in the bigs, and very soon. We’ll miss Joyce but larish won’t go into prolonged periods of ineffectiveness like Matt did.
The guys that surprise me are Thames and Raburn. I would have figured their would be more interest in Marcus and in what he can do with his bat. A team like the Phillies could use a versatile RHB like Raburn’s. How a bout a swap of Ryans? Raburn for Madson?
We all are hoping for a number of rebound years from our guys. Our left side defense may look like Oyler and Wert this year but the rest of the squad can’t make up for those two if they end up hitting like Oyler and Wert. We need some production out of Ingie this year and even though it is great he is so positive since he now has his treasured position locked up, that is certainly no guarantee that he will hit enough to justify it. I think he will, simply from the standpoint that it’s hard to hit any worse than he did last year.
Hopefully our pitchers have learned a few things. Bonderman: a 3rd pitch. Verlander: the ability to a little more time and actually think between pitches. Willis: that it’s OK to take his job seriously on the mound. Rodney; that it’s OK to throw strikes. All these things would help immensely.
This team is better than last years. They have improved the catching, the defense, I think the bullpen, though most of that has been accomplished by attrition and the rotation looks solid enough if the key guys can recover from their injuries and lack of fitness.
I do hope they can find another piece for the bullpen. I also think whoever is going to back up Placido at 2nd should try to be in the best shape they can be in out of spring training. Placido struggles in the cold weather and that back ain’t getting any younger. He made a great recovery last year but it was touch and go for awhile.

Why didn’t he realize that in the middle of last year and correct it?

Supposedly he did make the adjustment down the stretch last season and had some better results in September.

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