Coke to bullpen, Furbush to start Monday
The expected switch became official this morning: Phil Coke’s rotation stint is over. He’ll be back in the bullpen this weekend, and Charlie Furbush will be in the rotation starting Monday at Angel Stadium.
“It was not a tough decision,” manager Jim Leyland said. “It was a disappointing decision.”
It was one Leyland knew had to be made. He doesn’t know how Furbush will handle the assignment of being a starting pitcher in the middle of a pennant race, he admitted, but he knows it wasn’t working with Phil Coke.
The numbers from last night’s game recap tell the story. Add Wednesday’s damage to outings against the Diamondbacks and Rockies, and Coke has allowed 18 runs, 16 earned, on 22 hits over his last 13 2/3 innings. Though he tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings against Tampa Bay before this streak, he gave up 10 hits and six runs, four earned, in five innings to the Rangers before that.
While three American League pitchers have suffered more losses than Coke (1-8) this year, they’ve all won more recently. His lone victory came April 14, and his stretch of 12 winless starts is the longest by a Tigers starter since the Tigers’ 119-loss team of 2003. Adam Bernero went 0-10 over a 17-start stretch that began June 15, 2002 and ended May 31, 2003. Just days before that, Mike Maroth ended his own 12-start winless streak.