Benoit back in setup role

Joaquin Benoit’s respite from the Tigers’ eighth-inning setup role lasted less than a week. It isn’t necessarily a matter of the Tigers feeling confident he’s completely back so much as the recent performances from the rest of the bullpen.

“I’d have liked to go a little bit longer [working him along],” manager Jim Leyland said, “but with some of the kids struggling, I’ve just got to hope he gets the job done.”

Benoit’s last eighth-inning appearance came last Monday against Toronto, when he entered in a tie game and gave up three runs. He has made one appearance since, albeit an encouraging one with a two-strikeout perfect inning Friday night.

After that game, he sounded cautiously encouraged, but also patient.

“I’m just going in there and trying to hit the spots, not thinking about what’s happened already,” Benoit said Friday night. “Whatever happened is in the past, try to move forward.”

The past four games have been an outright struggle for the Tigers bullpen to find some order without the late innings set. Both losses at Boston came as a result of runs in the eighth inning or later, and the losses here Friday and Saturday came largely from sixth- and seventh-inning runs.

Add it up, and Detroit relievers have given up 13 runs over the course of their five-game losing streak, more than Tigers hitters have scored in that same stretch.

52 Comments

bullpen has been the weak link this season. they’ll make a move for another veteran arm there. not a question of “if” but “when” and “how much” it’ll cost. this should be the first move other than dipping into the minors that will be made. dombrowski likes to be ahead of the market, it could happen well in advance of the trade deadline.

To get something done ahead of the deadline would probably involve overpaying. And Dombrowski doesn’t like to do that. He could go for a low-cost arm early, but I don’t anticipate anything big.

While it may be true that DD doesn’t “like” to overpay, he does. And often enough to create roster problems.
Inge, Guillen, Ordonez, Willis, Sheffield, Renteria, Benoit.
There are some really nice arms in our pen. They need Rick Knapp to settle them down and show them how tho throw strikes. That’s pretty much the problem with the young guys. That being said, I wonder it there is a Chance Ruffin gets a call at some point?

Polite baseball so far. Hitters just look inept. Cab too.. I know it’s early but at some point early gets late.
Not a fan of Raburn batting 3rd. I’d rather seeing Peralta there than him.

Rather see Raburn batting 3rd in Toledo.

Sizemore is really fighting it at the plate. It just makes all kind of sense to give Ramon the job at this point.

VMart really does have a poor arm. That’s a shame because he is a pretty clever guy back there.

Porcello looks confident out there today. Hopefully he fares better than Max did yesterday, who also looked very good.

I sure don’t like the called 3rd strikes on the inside corner we’ve been seeing. This guy is not a strikeout type pitcher, even though we are making him look like one.
This will be a big inning for RP. Then the offense needs to produce something.

Hurdle doesn’t mess around with his starters much. Even given the fact he can PH for them he hooks ‘em pretty quick.

That AB by Inge is why he won’t drive in even 50 this year. And why he hurts the team offensively. He is not good at all with that manon on3rd base and less than 2 out.
Then a good swing by Wells that results in an out—look out RP, the Pirates can take that momentum up to the plate with them.

That’s how you play baseball Leyland. A leadoff double and then you get him over. Just make sure Inge or Raburn isn’t on deck.

I can’t even imagine what Q and Schlereth are thinking while they are warming up.
BTW, Inge had a perfect pitch to get up in the air on the hanging slider (1st pitch).

Whew, RP got the ground ball when he really needed it. Nice turn at 2nd too.

I think Raburn and Boesch went to the same school of uppercut hitting.
Something needs to be done about Sizemore and raburn—not too mention Inge. I think Raburn has cut his own throat and will be riding a lot of pine now. Wells is the better player.
Dirks will get the starts most times against RHP–and rightly so.
I like that Andrew McCutcheon. He has a good eye, and is not afraid to leave his feet in CF. Austin is great but rarely do you ever see him leave his feet. The upside is he will be more durable but the downside is no matter how quick a guy is there are times tha the ball will be slightly out of yur reach. Dont leave your fett and you are giving the hitter a hit.
Granderson was fun to watch. AJ istoo, don’t get me wrong. But a totaly different style and fielding philosophy.

BTW—I wold have had dirks PHing for Raburn and coming in for defense.

Pretty well pitched ball game. By all the pitchers.
Will JL try to force the benoit in the 8th issue?
I hope not—Porcelo is throwing well and has a very low pitch count.
A few runs might be nice though.

Boy do we ever need another offensive producer in this lineup. It’s pretty bad to not be able to plater even 3 runs a game. You put an incredible amount of pressure on your rotation when you can’t score. Not to mention an inexperienced bullpen.
If Leyland takes Porcello out in the 8th he is a fool.

We already know he’s a fool!

With the way they have been playing, 2 runs may not be enough. If they lose the game, check the 6th inning. Cabrera doubles. No bunt from Martinez to get Cab to 3rd. One out. Peralta singles, Cab to 3rd. Where would he have been if VM bunts? They most likely would have gone ahead 3-0. Look at the 7th inning. Porcello gets on. No bunt from AJ. He flies out. Granted Sizemore and Raburn are highly doubtful for any hit, but what IF with RP on 2nd from a sac bunt.?
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I don’t consider myself any kind of a baseball expert so when I can see these things happening, what does that say for Leyland? I don’t know how to spell the answer, but b-b-b-rack……………

There is no way to martinez to bunt. He is a legitimate 4th bat. He is paid to go to the bleachers.

You know if I were Leyland (and thank god I’m not), I’d let RP try to get a complete game. That may do so much for his confidence. Sure, JV III shold be ready at the 1st sign of wavering, but let him go man.

Agree

No no no. Don’t take Porcello out.

No-o-o-o-o-o-o- He has a 0ne-hitter. Only 84 pitches. Somebody got a brick? Hit Leyland in the head!

Wells walks and it changes thing a bit as you dearly could use another run. But, I stiil think there was far more to be gained by letting Porcello try to get his 1st complete game. Far more.
I guess JL just hates bunting so much he had to remove the opportunity.

What is Raburn doing playing LF in the bottom of the 9th?
Stupid.
He was nowhere near the foul fly and he sure should have been.

Like I say–stupid.
Now we have to agaonize with JV III holding the runner on. Like that’s going to happen.

Porcello was very confident on the mound. For that fact, at the plate too. Body language told the story.
Still claim tht he should have been allowed out for the 9th. Leyland would definitely have let JV complete it and maybe Max too.
Nice to get a win. Shouldn’t complain but I just don’t agree with the way this guy manges this ball team.

I meant “manages” or perhaps it was “mangles”.

I don’t know when I have been so furious with Leyland. There was no good reason to pull RP. Thank goodness JVIII got down to business after the single and hit batter. And thank your lucky stars for the one-hitter from Ricky. The Tiger batters (not hitters) certainly weren’t in the game today. Look back at some of my previous comments today. Leyland absolutely did not take any advantage of possible scoring opportunities. Come on, Jason Beck, pass this on to DD or MI !!!

It is official , the best starting rotation in AL

Leyland can have all the “no-brainers” he needs to survive at his advanced age, but I like to play each scenario on it’s own merit without regard to any book on managing. If your closer can’t be brought into the 9th with runners on, he’s not really better than your starter after 8 innings, is he? This is just logic. I let Porcello hit in the 9th and bunt Wells over once he got on, then let him finish the game. The Pittsburgh hitters were at Rick’s mercy today. Instead of no-braining it, Jim, try using your brain. You’ll stave off dementia that way. That’s a medical fact. Just some free advice from an “average fan.”
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So we got the expected 1 of 3 in Pittsburgh, and I expect to get either 2 or 3 of the next 7. That puts us either one or three games below .500 two days short of the end of May.
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Our starting pitching has been about as good as any I’ve seen in Detroit in quite some time. I agree with Villarreal being sent down and designating Gonzalez as the guy who sits in the bullpen all the time. It’s like being the doorman on an automatic door.

Rich – I saw Enrique Gonzales pitch on Friday night in Charlotte. Charlotte hit maybe 3 hard balls the first inning against Adam Wilk. Gonzales came in and gave up a hard single, then a double off the wall (only a strong throw from Iorg saved him from giving up the tying run). Gonzales should not get anywhere near Detroit.
The alternative in Toledo, in my opinion, is Fu Te Ni. Has experience. Good against LHB. Instead of bringing up a starter to sit in the bullpen, bring up a reliever.

Oops. I see they optioned Villarela and brought up Gonzales. I am telling you though, he got hit hard on Friday night.

Best starting rotation and worst bullpen. I really really wish JL would manage towards his roster not against it. Speed is evident with AJax, dirks, Boesch, and more. Play small ball with the youngins and let your Cabbys and Vmarts swing away like champs. We need sone runs for our Balls out rotation.

Had to work all day so missed the game. I’d have to agree with some of you to let Victor would be kind of foolish especially if he’s trying to move Cabby over. With Victor’s injury, they probably could have gotten a DP. Glad we won.

We really do have some studs for starting pitching. Some teams would give anything to have a starting rotation like we do. If it were up to me, Leland, LaMont, and Legendary would be long-gon

Can’t spell, either.

Granderson 16 hr , MLB leader against lefties

Ever wonder why Curtis, who seemingly couldn’t hit a pumpkin off a lefthander in Detroit, is doing so well now? Could it be he finally got the instruction he never got under Lloyd? Real curious.

of found a really short porch in NY?

Curtis could have been a 3 hitter for us. When he got his chance to bat cleanup he owned it. I’m curious to see his splits on how many if his HR are at home vs on the road. Seriously pitchers fear the Yanks, they wait out every pitch and hammer the cookies when they come. Patient hitters tend to be rewarded with better calls in their favor. Wonder if legendary even knows that or maybe you should keep having everyone swing at 2-0 and the first pitch with 2 outs. Go Tigers dammit!

I’m still ticked off over Leyland not letting Porcello go for his first complete game. What a confidence booster that would have been. Leyland: “To me, it’s a no-brainer. Your closer is supposed to be better than your starter after 8 innings, in my opinion.” That is one lame excuse. What’s the real reason? I don’t think these guys really like playing for him. I hope one of ‘em writes a book someday.

You all comment on how the SOC manages. Let’s change the subject because he won’t! Jason, do you think Miggy should bat 3rd? Too much to do outside to watch non exciting baseball. Just heard that my Tigers won. Cool, are we a 500 club?

Instead of being a time for the team to rejoice Ricks efforts, they and we are left with what may have been.
Lucky chemistry plays no part in running a team.

Back from watching Sat. and Sun. games in Pittsburgh. Good seats on the 3rd base side. RP was superb today. I missed the one hit he gave up because of people up and moving around in front of me…. One thing that always irritates the heck out of me.

I honestly thought we lost the momentum a couple of times today. Just throwing away at bats and scoring opportunities. To be fair, at times our guys were more patient today…. watching called third strikes cross the plate. Fortunately RP kept his head in the game and wasn’t to be denied.

Tigers showed a lot of warning track power this weekend, giving away several AB’s. The Pirates on the other hand were hitting a lot of hard liners…..today not so much though. McCutcheon is a heck of a ballplayer. That guy is a tough out every AB and is a patient and smart hitter. He is quick in the outfield and easily robbed us at least twice.

Max pitched very well last night. A shame our Tigers failed to put the game away when they should have. Instead the Pirates just kept putting the pressure back on Max and I think he finally plain ran out of gas. (Fortunately that didn’t happen to RP today. He had command and his pitch count was in order.) But you could just feel the momentum was going to switch last night. Max is a tough battler but they made him work hard. Again poor AB’s. Too many warning track outs while the Pirates, when they did hit the ball, hit hard liners and grounders and found the holes.

I know I’ve been a Raburn supporter but I will concede that he needs to sit for a while. Casper Wells is a solid defender and deserves some steady playing time to see what he can do at the plate. He stung one today but was robbed.

Then there is Ramon the forgotten one. Seems like no matter what he does, he rarely gets two starts in a row. That guy is arguably our best IF defender and he does not give away AB’s. He maximizes his strengths. Sizemore, Raburn, and Jackson”, in comparison, “stood like the proverbial house by the side of the road” way too many times this weekend. Offensively, this team has yet to figure out any visible strategy or game plan. It has no identity.

One last observation . Porcello seems to handle the bat well and he runs with decent speed. I was impressed.

When Porcello pitches, we should DH Inge’s spot and let Porcello hit.

It all worked out, but I was so mad yesterday when Porcello was pulled, there was no logic there to let the kids get a complete game win, he was dominating and you could see in his face he was owning those guys. Thank goodness Valverde got the job done after making us all nervous for a while, but that isn’t the point, it was a shame, the guy got passed over on his last start then with 84 pitches told to hit the showers – don’t get it.

I read the article on MLive.co regarding “2nd guessing”. I am more convinced this is not the man to run this team any longer. This is not a Role Model for young fans, children or grandchildren. This is a stubborn, angry, defensive man with absolutely no grace whatsoever. I know baseball (or any pro sport) needs its characters and its insulation from normal society. It needs to allow athletes space to just be guys in a “club” atmosphere.
But Leyland is beond the pale. We have had some characters with very colourful managing teams before but this man does not feel he has do be nice or respectable to anyone who has a difference of opinon or worse, challenges him on it. It must be difficult in dealing with media. But they are doing theri jobs. Some are good, some bad, some are learning the ropes. They should not all be painted with a very broad brush by this grumpy old man.
A number of years ago I met the man at a seattle game. He was reluctantly polite and purposefully gruff but I was impressed with him and said that this guy is a real manager with the adjectives “old school” being OK. I liked the way he seemed to be in charge of things.
The last few years I have observed him becoming too adverserial and to belligerent. I think his managerial skills have eroded. Given the complete package I will say that I believe the tiger would be better off without him.
The text of the MLive article:
DETROIT — It seemed to start innocently enough. But Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland quickly got a bit riled up.

Jeff Riger of WXYT-FM 97.1 “The Ticket” asked Leyland a question about how much second-guessing he has received for pulling Rick Porcello from the game Sunday after Porcello had pitched eight innings of one-hit ball in a 2-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Here is how the exchange went:

Riger: Does it ever amaze you the amount of second-guessing you get?
Leyland: That’s you guys. You’re a radio guy, aren’t you? Well, that’s radio stuff.

Riger: But fans as well?
Leyland: I think that’s the entertainment business. I think that’s what we’re in. And I don’t blame any fan, ever, who second-guesses taking out Rick Porcello. I don’t blame somebody like that. But I don’t listen to talk shows, guys who don’t know (expletive) about baseball. No. If you’re asking if I listen to those guys, no. If I listen to somebody that has a legitimate second-guess, like the one yesterday, I respect that opinion. It’s not going to change mine. I’ve said a million times, I manage for the fans, not with the fans. I don’t manage with every Tom, Dick and Harry who calls a talk show, I can promise you that. But that one yesterday was a legitimate second-guess. But, you know what, everybody forgets that the Tigers won the game. And if Jose Valverde is not better in the ninth inning than Rick Porcello after eight innings, and Jose Valverde’s a top closer, then we might as well not have a closer. That’s the way I look at it. I don’t get sentimental in all that (expletive) about, oh, he’s got a chance to have a one-hitter. I don’t get into all that (expletive). I’m here to win games and I felt that gave us the best chance to win the game. And we won the game. It could have backfired and I still would have stuck by my decision. So it doesn’t bother me. That’s you guys’ business. That’s what you do for a living. That’s good. There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. There’s nothing wrong with talk shows and people’s opinions and having some fun and arguing. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s what you do for a living. But I don’t listen to those people, period.

Riger: I wasn’t talking about those people …
Leyland: No, period.

Riger: I was talking about more the fans though.
Leyland: I don’t manage with the fans.

Riger: No, I know …
Leyland: Let’s get one thing straight. I manage for the fans, not with the fans. Fans have guessed coaches for a thousand years. They’re going to guess them till the cows come home. And that’s fine. That’s fine. There’s a legitimate fan that calls that show that has real interest and has some knowledge and makes some sense. There’s a bunch of other people that call it that don’t know (expletive) about what they’re talking about. They just want to hear themselves on the radio and hear themselves talk. There is some definite legitimate second-guessing, which is fine. That’s the sport. That’s good. They’re interested in the Tigers. They want to know what’s going on. I have no problem with that stuff. But I don’t get into that. It has no bearing on what decision I make. Somebody was chewing my (expletive) out the other day, the fans were second-guessing me because I hadn’t gotten the relievers enough work. Well, if you want me to take (Justin) Verlander and (Max) Scherzer out in the fourth inning from now on and pitch (Brayan) Villarreal and (Enrique) Gonzalez, then I’ll do it for you. Is that what you want? That’s what I’ll do for you. Is that what you want? Because I don’t pay attention to you (expletive) stuff, because that’s what it is. I don’t pay attention to it.

Riger: I just asked a question.
Leyland: Well, I just answered the question.

Riger: Fair enough.
Leyland: Legitimate second-guessing, I have no problem with it. I’m telling you that it was a legitimate second-guess. I said it in the paper yesterday. It’s a legitimate second-guess. I have no problem with that. That’s fine. So why do you want me to comment on it today? Did you read the papers? Did you see what I said? The answer is there.

Riger: The reason I asked the question was because today fans were second-guessing you even though you did win and I just wanted to know what you thought …
Leyland: What do you want me to do about it?

Riger: I just wanted you to comment and you did, so I appreciate it.
Leyland: I commented on it. I don’t blame the fans for second-guessing it. What else do you want me to say? I don’t blame the fans for second-guessing that move. I said it yesterday in my press conference. I explained why I did it. I explained that I didn’t blame them for second-guessing, so what else do you want me to do? What do you want me to say? That I wish I had not done it? No, I’m glad I did it. And I’ll do it again tonight if we have the same (expletive) situation if I think it gives us the best (expletive) chance to win the (expletive) game. Are there any other questions

Thanks Dan.
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What a tirade. A simple question went way over the top. Quite ridiculous.
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This may be the beginning of the burnout. It really is no way to represent yourself or the team.
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Last week G-Man went off on a reporter and found himself in AAA. Can we be so lucky? ;)

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Go Tigers.

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— Bob

Thanks Dan.
Just unbelievable. I take back my opinion that he will last through the season. Though if this maniacaltirade is any indication, they make sure the whole house burns with them.

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