Dotel’s biceps injury and Detroit’s bullpen
So how did the Tigers end up in the situation that proved their undoing, with young Brayan Villarreal pitching with the bases loaded on walks and nowhere to put Ryan Doumit? It was a series of events.
Some were obvious, like the Tigers’ struggles against Scott Diamond, who said after the Tigers loss that he adjusted his game once he noticed the Tigers adjusted theirs. Drew Smyly’s pitch limit, too, was obvious.
But fast forward to the seventh inning, when Octavio Dotel replaced Phil Coke after Doumit’s two-run home run, and you see where the bullpen order begins to fray.
Though Doumit is a switch-hitter, providing a right-handed bat against a left-handed reliever (Coke) who has struggled against righties on the year, Doumit has hit right-handed pitchers about 45 points higher for average (.290) than lefties (.245). In addition, 12 of his previous 16 home runs came off right-handed pitchers, resulting in a 150-point bump in OPS.
Once Doumit homered, in came Dotel. Once Dotel got through the inning, he was dealing with some sort of biceps problem.
“I feel a little bit of soreness,” Dotel said. “Hopefully I’ll be OK tomorrow.”
He doesn’t think it’ll it’s a big deal, and if it was an emergency, he might have been able to keep pitching. The worry was that if he made it worse, it would become a big enough issue to sideline him longer term, possibly taking out the postseason.
“I don’t want it worse,” Dotel said. “It’s better to wait a little bit.”
Meanwhile, Al Alburquerque on track to get a second day of rest after pitching 2 1/3 innings of relief in Wednesday. Thus, enter Villarreal, whose leadoff walk to Denard Span set things in motion in the eighth.
“He didn’t pitch good,” Leyland said. “He didn’t throw the ball over the plate and he didn’t pitch very good. That happens.”