Leyland on using Ortega in 11th

Neil Walker is a switch-hitter, but his splits have always been stronger against right-handed pitching (.286 career average, .801 OPS) than lefties (.260, .662). Never have those splits been stronger than this year, albeit in limited at-bats after missing time to the disabled list. He’s 5-for-30 so far off southpaws, and 30-for-105 against right-handers, including all three of his home runs.

So why did Walker face right-hander Jose Ortega in the 11th inning Tuesday night? It was the situation — one out, nobody on base. Jim Leyland said afterwards that he had Phil Coke ready, and would have brought him in if leadoff man Starling Marte had reached base.

“If the first guy would’ve gotten on, I would’ve brought in Coke to turn Walker around [and] to hopefully hold [Marte] at first base,” Leyland said. “And then you’ve got [Andrew] McCutchen coming up next, so you might have had to make another move, which is all right. But once he got Marte out, I was going to leave him in.”

Drew Smyly was on rest last night. Darin Downs was another option. The main motivation, though, would have been to hold Marte at first.

“If he got on, I was going to bring Cokey in so he could hold him at first, because that guy can really run,” Leyland continued. “If Walker bunts, gets him to second, then you can walk McCutchen and then you’ve got [Garrett] Jones, the left-hander. And then you’ve still got a right-hander ready if they happen to pinch-hit. You’re still ready to do that.”

7 Comments

OK, another 2 days with internet down and I almost went nuts last night. When VMart didn’t get that hit in the end, I kinda figured it wasn’t gonna go our way.

Andy went 0-5 last night and left 3 men on. Vmart wasn’t much better going 0-4 leaving 1 man on. Infante a little better going 0-3 with a walk and left 2 men on.
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I mean come on fellas we can’t all do this on the same night!

Andy’s cooled off a bit. Pittsburgh has more wins than the Tigers and that pitcher they had was pretty good.

It was a sound strategy. Ortega just got one in the wrong place to Walker, but he can pitch multiple innings. If Coke comes in and fails, the internet blows up.
This Pirates team is 32-20, better than Detroit’s record. They have a killer bullpen and our best chance would have been to eke out 2 or 3 runs off Gomez.
The next five games will not be easy.

I do agree that Ortega did his job but for one pitch. But with that splits , you may think different

If a man was on, maybe yes. With nobody on base, you’re facing a guy with 3 homers. And once you bring in Coke, the merry-go-round begins. It looked like it may take us a long time to score.

Speaking of taking a long time to score. Why is it Jim Leyland teams seem to be deficient in manufacturing runs? There are teams that you know will find a way and teams like ours that you know will take 3 solid hits to push a run across.
In terms of small ball, Avi Garcia looked ridiculous trying to bunt. How does someone progress through all the levels of ball to make it to the majors and not have an inkling of how to lay down a bunt?
Avi does seem to need more at bats. If I am Jim Leyland I simply give him the CF job until AJ returns. He would benefit from the reps and get more comfortable. Splitting time with Kely and Dirks is counter-productive to him IMO. Let’s see what the kid can do……again. He seemed to be alright when given the opportunity last year.

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