Phil Coke to Toledo, Jose Alvarez to bullpen

Phil Coke made only one pitch Tuesday night with the intention of getting an out. Justin Morneau lined it into right field for a two-run double. A couple hours later, Coke was on his way to Triple-A Toledo.

But in the postgame comments, manager Jim Leyland made it clear that their decision to send Phil Coke to Triple-A Toledo for the rest of the month had been building.

“It’s been kind of a unique season for him all along,” Leyland said. “I think he probably had a tough first half. He has been better lately, I want to emphasize that. But he’s just got to try to locate the ball better.

“We’re just going to take advantage of this opportunity to get him down there and get him some work. He can focus down there.”

A unique season, indeed.

He was the Tigers closer in the ALCS and (in theory, at least) the World Series last October, and he earned the save for the Tigers on Opening Day as part of the bullpen by committee. He blew the second save opportunity two days later and has been on a roller-coaster since.

He was miserable against right-handed hitters, but still nasty against a decent number of lefty hitters, enough so that Leyland transitioned him into more of a lefty specialist’s role over the past month or so. It’s not a role Coke has seemed to particularly enjoy.

“It’s not something that I’m really happy about, no matter what I was doing on the field,” Coke said. “Whether I was dominating, if I was out there for one guy, it was really annoying because of being a competitor. I mean, you want to go out there and you want to do everything you can, turn the inning over to the next guy if necessary, or go out there and handle multiple innings if that’s the load that’s required of you.”

Yet after Morneau’s double, Coke’s splits have actually reversed. Right-handed hitters are 18-for-66 (.273) against him, albeit with a high walk total. Lefties are now 20-for-69 (.290) against him. For Phil Coke, even back in his middle/long relief days, that’s astounding.

That said, Coke actually expected this would’ve come sooner, if it was going to happen.

“I figured it would’ve happened in the first half, not right now, especially since the velocity’s been back,” Coke said. “I’ve gotten a lot of key outs recently. I’ve been on a decent run, no earned runs. I mean, I’ve given up three or four inherited. Sometimes those things happen, but right now it’s not something we can afford as a team.”

 

14 Comments

Go work it it out Phil….come back and help us.

Not a surprise, the surprise has been that he has stayed with the big club so long. I welcome him to the Hens though, I can cheer him on a lot closer and hopefully he gets it back – I like his fire.

Even Phil thought he should’ve gone to Toledo long before this. I blame management for his continued struggles, in not having the sense to do this long ago.

We need a reliable lefty hander in Sept and Oct, so get it going Phil.

Going to Toledo a few years back helped Max immensely, I hope this helps Phil the same way. by the way – tons of wasted opportunities last night – yikes. And Rod and Mario totally jinxed Ricky – talking on and on about how bad the Twins have been with RISP and then bam – 2 run homerun.

Pingback: Phil Coke goes from Tigers’ playoff closer to Triple-A | HardballTalk

The writing is on the wall. The question is whether the ink is indelible.

As of today, Detroit has the best record in the AL. I think you get postseason homefield and wild card game winner for that?

ESPN reporting that Miggy re-aggrevated one of his injuries last night in the last AB

I’m glad for him that Phil gets to go down and try to figure it out, I like him, I like his personality and I think he could be valuable as a lefty specialist. But what I don’t understand is (and not necessarily on here for the most part) is why he is getting blamed for last nights failure. Rick Porcello was as bad as he’s been in several months. He just wasn’t getting nickeled and dimed, he was getting hit hard. He didn’t have very much control and walks were an issue. He didn’t give the team much of a chance, not with the way the hitters were not hitting very well at least with their lack of clutch hitting with runners in scoring position. Miggy had a rough night I and Prince was our RBI guy. It’s disappointing because that’s a game you’d think favored us. Thursdays starter has been really good so it might be hard to win two. And Cleveland has beat Weaver and CJ Wilson two pitchers you’d hope could’ve handled Cleveland.

Well, if you look for one reason to explain a loss, there will never be agreement. It’s a team game. I haven’t gone around reading up on last night but sometimes people are discussing an issue without casting blame for a particular loss.

Just saw Miggys ab in the 9th he looked as bad as he ever has as far as his pain in swinging…….yikes.

Well if he needs to go on the 15 day DL then he needs to get healthy for the stretch run. They will lose ground to the Indians & Royals because there are very few on this team that can hit in the clutch like Miggy! Wow, look at Avi Garcia hit for average w/the Pale hose! Would have been nice to give up a different prospect for Jose Iggy! Let’s go Anibal, throw a gem!

Miggy in lineup tonight

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