April 8th, 2009

Leyland: "We have some work to do"

A day after the Tigers’ first blown save of the season, Jim Leyland wasn’t regretting the move to stick with Brandon Lyon in the ninth inning. However, he indicated they have some work to do to sort out their bullpen and define some roles.

“We have to get the tail end of our bullpen going,” Leyland said, “and we’ve got to mess with it a little bit until things fall into place. … But we’ll get our roles straightened around and we’ll be fine. I hope we have those issues where we’ve got 3-0 leads late.

“We’ve got some work to do. That’s obvious.”

Asked when he’d like to have his bullpen sorted out, Leyland said, “Now. Now’s the time.”

From this view, it’s hard to see how much sorting they can do until Joel Zumaya comes back, unless he ends up missing a lot more time than expected — which doesn’t seem likely. Because right now, other than maybe determining a role for using experienced setup man Juan Rincon or using Bobby Seay in general setup rather than specialist work, they don’t seem to have much flexbility.

And that’s why it’s hard to fault Leyland for going with Lyon, though that bases-loaded, one-out situation in the ninth might have called for more of a strikeout pitcher like Fernando Rodney. That said, the rule of thumb in extra-inning games on the road is to save the closer for if and when you get the lead.

As for Lyon, Leyland said, “We were asking a guy that was a closer last year for Arizona and, when we got him, some people thought may be our closer this year, to get one out in the eighth inning. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.”

Two roles that are set for sure Wednesday are that Rodney and Ryan Perry are going to pitch. Leyland wants to get them both their first appearances of the season, since they haven’t pitched since last weekend.

Lineups …


  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Ordonez, DH
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Guillen, LF
  6. Laird, C
  7. Inge, 3B
  8. Santiago, SS
  9. Anderson, RF



  1. Marco Scutaro, SS
  2. Aaron Hill, 2B
  3. Alex Rios, RF
  4. Vernon Wells, CF
  5. Adam Lind, DH
  6. Scott Rolen, 3B
  7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
  8. Rod Barajas, C
  9. Travis Snider, LF

PITCHER: Jesse Litsch

Leyland on pulling Jackson

Jim Leyland on the decision to pull Edwin Jackson in the 8th after 89 pitches: “There was no question that he was starting to go. There was no question about that. It was the perfect situation for Seay to come in, get out the one lefty who was a pretty good hitter. We got that. We felt real good about it, but there was no doubt in my mind about that. I don’t question that at all. He gave us everything you could ask for and more. Rolen hit the home run, and we had the unfortunate little play there that we didn’t make. That’s all part of the game.”

On another bullpen note, if the game had gone into extra innings, Leyland said that Ryan Perry would’ve pitched the 10th, which would’ve made for quite a Major League debut.