Leyland concerned “a little bit” about Phil Coke

Jim Leyland was asked after Wednesday’s loss if he’s concerned about Phil Coke and his recent struggles. Here was his answer:

“Obviously we need to get him going, so I would say that … Concerned? A little bit. But in a panic mode? No. But we’ve got to get him going. He’s very important for us, because our other two lefties are very inexperienced. So it’ll be important to get him going. It’s just a matter of him getting the ball where he’s trying to get it. But when you don’t at this level, you pay the price.”

The last part was a repeat of what Leyland said a couple minutes earlier when asked what he saw out of Coke Wednesday night.

“He’s just not getting the ball where he’s trying to get it,” Leyland said.

Phil Coke was asked later if he’s concerned about his recent struggles. His answer:

“The concern I had was my last outing. My last two outings were my concern, and I made my adjustments I needed to make, and I was throwing the ball really well tonight.”

This is the point where Coke clearly has a different definition. His focus was on how he feels with his delivery and his pitches. Everybody else’s concern is on the results. That’s something a lot of pitchers go through. In his defense, Leyland pointed out that his three hits included a bloop single from Nick Swisher and a ground ball through the left side from Mark Teixeira, and his second run came home after an 11-pitch at-bat from Eric Chavez.

“They kept getting their hits and you could see that their confidence had swung for the better and it was a matter of trying to make them mishit the ball,” Coke said. “For the most part, I felt like I did that. I broke Swisher’s bat and Cano didn’t hit the ball over the wall. I mean, he hit the ball in the gap and Jackson wasn’t able to track it down, but I mean, those things happen. Resultswise, I’m not necessarily upset, because I felt like I made all but one pitch tonight. I’m OK with my results as far as how I felt, how the ball’s coming out of my hand, because that’s what I was struggling with.”

That said, the Tigers began the inning with an 8-7 deficit and ended the inning with a 10-7 deficit. If the fourth inning was the key to Tuesday’s win, the eighth inning was probably the key to the Yankees holding on.

“A lot of times you don’t care how you win games,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Just win.”

Coke threw 25 pitches, 21 of them for strikes, so the command woes of his previous couple outings — 49 pitches, 25 strikes over his previous two outings, including two costly walks — weren’t as big. At the same time, just two of those 21 strikes were swings and misses. One was to Chavez before he fouled off seven pitches to extend his at-bat.

Said Coke: “I know people just look at the results, but at the same time, the results are whatever they’re going to be. You can’t script the game. If you could, I mean, we’d already have like 150 World Series titles. But you can’t. It doesn’t work that way. Sometimes you just run into a team that’s on a hot streak.”

As for how he feels, Coke said, “I’m feeling better than I did earlier in the season. Tonight, I felt like I’m supposed to feel. I felt strong, I felt smooth, and the ball was jumping out of my hand.”

When asked about Leyland’s concern, Coke said Leyland had talked to him about it earlier in the week.

“He voiced his concern,” Coke said, “and I hope I put that concern to rest.”

22 Comments

I love Phil he has gotten us some huge outs over the last few years but something seems different this year?

Yeah, I watched the whole game. My frustration is when the pitcher can not throw strikes. 2 walks, 2 hbp. No one mentioned the sloppy fielding by the Yankees that let the Tigers back in it, only for our bullpen to let New York pull away. I think it was the Chavez at bat where Coke kept throwing the fastball down the middle with an 0-2 count. I kept saying to waste one. It looks like our hitters have their swagger back with the addition of Omar and Baker, and the return of Dirks. If Young is to stay on this team, he will need to step up in September. Go Tigers! –Dave

Actually, DY has looked pretty good in the Yankee series. He is 5 for 12 with 4 runs scored.

Can we get Phil Coke back on track without tossing games away? I mean, can he work on it in practice or in game situations where we are up by 5 runs in the 7th or something?
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I’m glad Phil feels good about it – but last night when Phil went in I didn’t feel good about it. Felt like JL went all in on Phil Coke and lost the wager (read: game).
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Where is DANIEL S.? Why hasn’t AL^2 pitched since the 6th – we need him back asap!!

Schlereth is on 60 day DL (not that he was pitching great before that) and Al is on a rehab assignment. Personally I don’t think it would hurt to try Downs or especially Below in higher pressure situations occasionally… but last night Coke was really the only option after those two guys had already been used and they had a bunch of hot-hitting lefties up. I agree with the above post that says maybe Coke could’ve wasted a pitch or two- if you throw the ball in the zone every time, good hitters are going to hit it. But, it’s just one game, and ChiSox lost too. And even then, assuming Coke does get through the inning unscathed, Villarreal wasn’t throwing well, either. Obviously, if Phil gets through the inning it’s a different ballgame, but it’s not like he was the only pitcher who lost the game for us…

On second thought, I would have just left Downs in there… he only threw 8 pitches.

The Yankees are known for hitting better against LHP. Especially Granderson. He is ( or was )leading MLB in HR against LHP for the last two years

Schlereth is rehabbing at Lakeland the last I looked.

Paul Konerko hurt last night – will be out a game or so with a concussion. FYI

Just a game? Isn’t there a rule about recovery time for concussions? Maybe I’m confusing baseball with another sport.

ElTigre, thanx for the link.

Detroit Tigers‏@tigers

Today’s lineup: Berry 8, Dirks 7, Cabrera dh, Fielder 3, Boesch 9, Peralta 6, Avila 2, Infante 5, Santiago 4. Fister is starting.

Is be real surprised if the game was able to be payed today. It is a steady but not hard rain right now, they said by 12 or so there might be a break but heavy rain by 2:30 lasting for hours. I would hoe the tigers organization would have more smarts than the Red Soxs did last week. I don’t want one of our best starters to get wasted like last week. Snakes!

Read on twitter. Only common day off: sep 17

I think they’ll get it in.

Wow no Jackson?

JL ,yesterday: 6 players will rotate around the corners. Today, Jackson is benched.
Cabrera, who does not like it , DH. Fielder has not been DH , not even once,because he does not like it.

Austin finally gets a day off, which are far and few between. Miggy probably still has that ankle thing.
Jason explained it well re Coke. Pitchers will get caught up in their mechanics and release points and such, but it has to result in good location and pitches that move. It didn’t appear to me that Phil threw as many good pitches as it “felt” like to him. Coke is a serviceable lefty most of the time, so I expect he’ll come around. I’d still like to see more LH options used because you paint yourself into a corner relying on one guy. I would think Below or Downs, experienced or not, are capable of getting a LH hitter out. Duane did it over multiple innings last night. Both he and Downs look better than Schlereth did most of the time.

Must be a minor (hopefully) ailment for AJ?
Santiago getting starts. My problem with Ramon is that he goes into offensive patterns where he simply cannot get the ball out of the infield and is an easy if not automatic out. I don’t know how he did yesterday. but I do know he sometimes becomes pretty invisible. Guess JL wants to load up on LHB today.
We need a solid defensive game and a few key hits. Looing to Fielder today to provide the big blow.
Boesch doing OK but still waiting for his power game.

rain is gunna be around aaaaaalllllll day….better play in the holes and hope there are enough holes

P. Coke!!!!!!! We need to see this. P. Coke 1 inning 0 H 0 ER. Repeat twice. Or thrice. Then we will be less concerned.

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