Game 158: As the Tigers bullpen turns

For the second time in six weeks, Joaquin Benoit delivered eight outs over two nights. Except for one fastball over the plate that Brian Dozier jumped Monday night, he would’ve gotten back-to-back saves out of it.

That kind of workload is something Leyland rarely does with Benoit until the postseason. He did it once last year, and that was during a busy June that set up his spat of home runs around midseason. Expect him to be called upon for a four- or five-out save at some point in the playoffs if the Tigers make another run, because of how much pressure rests on each game.

Benoit knows it, and he knows he needs to be able to do it. As much as he wanted to be out there Tuesday after the blown save on Monday and give the team some reassurance, he knew it would be a test for him.

“It was really challenging for me coming back — 1 2/3 yesterday, coming back and throwing one inning today,” Benoit said. “It was good.”

He wasn’t the only one reassuring. Bruce Rondon returned to the Tigers bullpen after three weeks working back from a tender elbow, promptly entered a big game in the eighth inning, and had to show what he has at this point. The 101 mph fastball is still there. The slider, a pitch that puts stress on the elbow, might have looked better than ever.

Even he wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but he couldn’t have been happier with the results: 10 pitches, 3 strikeouts.

Rondon said he felt “a little bit weird, a little bit tight” on his first few pitches before he settled in. He also felt somewhat scared about throwing his slider because of the elbow — until he saw the results.

He’s not going to replace Jose Veras in the eighth inning, no matter how much frustration fans might have over the results lately. But if he’s back as an option, whether for a batter or an inning, he has the chance to be a major factor in the postseason. For him, too, Tuesday was a test.

“I wanted to see if he threw it over the plate or around the plate,” Leyland said. “The only thing I was concerned about was the control because he hadn’t pitched in so long, but it set up just right for him, the lineup did, because you had three right-handers in a row there. So we couldn’t ask for anything better.

“If we don’t get [him] through it there, then we don’t get through it. But I was impressed with the fact that he threw the ball over the plate and around the plate, and he got them speeding the bat up to catch up with the fastball and the slider was very effective.”

16 Comments

The pen did a great job last night, as did Doug. Gets himself into some tight situations but usually delivers. Those 3 homeruns were something else – nice to see a good night by A.J. And Torii is batting like he is on a mission. Nice win, too bad those silly Indians had to win again. Hopefully tonight we celebrate!

Read

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130925/SPORTS0104/309250022

This is what I’m talking about when I estimate Miggy at 70% of the offense.
I don’t think we’re totally doomed in the playoffs but it will be as tough as it can be.

Rondon looked as good as ever last night, if he is healthy Leyland needs to trust him more – the only way to get postseason experience is to throw him in there. 8 hours until first pitch, have been amped all day this afternoon better go by fast at work. Tonight we take care of business and celebrate! Go Tigers

7 hours 58 minutes now…..

so no beniot tonight…..i expect to see Veras and maybe Smyly and maybe Evan Reed or Luke. Downs could be used, is bondo better yet?

Jim Leyland: “We’ve got to score runs, fellas,” he said. “It’s as simple as that. We keep talking about the pitching and the bullpen and everything, and everybody’s losing sight that we’re not scoring runs. We’ve got to score runs.
Yeah Jim, we’ve not noticed that on this BLOG!!!!!!

Dan, in your opinion, is it JL’s fault we aren’t scoring runs?

That quote is out of context. The first few questions from media had been in regard to the bullpen and such, and Jim pointed out the obvious at that time.

No, it’s not his fault. Though he could be trying to manufacture runs at times.
Out of context? My point is JL saying “everybody” and that astute fans actually do know this and are aware of the offensive shortcomings.

New plan on offense> don’t load the bases. Too much pressure on the hitters.

I would argue that the majority of the fan base are kool-aid drinking half-fans. You know the type. I would say off all the people I talk tigers with on a monthly basis (~40 people, not including ya’ll) only 4-7 really know what is going on in great detail. Even many passionate fans have no clue about the farm system (or lack thereof), stats beyond BA/ERA or managerial tendencies/shortcomings. They don’t know about expanded rosters or half the time who the new players are (“who is this perez guy?”).

What Perez guy? Who is that? They still have Neifi Perez?? ;)
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Time to clinch tonight!!!!
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— Bob

Evan, nice on the Tiger talk. Catching any fish in Vermont? The fans (die hard) I talk to are tired of Leyland. He has always had the players given to him. Reminds me of a Led Zeppelin song, “It’s nobody’s fault but mine”. Tonight’s the night Bob! Go Tigers!

With all the rules and regulations in MLB, it’s probably difficult for even people directly involved to keep up with it. Waivers could take up a whole chapter in a book, free agency, international signings and just the in-game rules themselves. I suppose that’s why general managers have to surround themselves with people who have different areas of expertise just to keep up. Heck, everywhere I go, people are sporting their Old English D. Most people who work full time and have families can’t keep up with every rule, trade, and transaction. I’ll bet 90% of Tiger fans knew when Torii only needed a triple to hit for the cycle and he got one and was held up. Still irks me.
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We are fortunate to have Mr. Dombrowski and I dread the day when he leaves. Go Tigers!!!! Bring up the Division Championship soon, very soon.

And now Rondon is down. This team is literally limping toward the finish line.

Don Kelly to the bullpen.

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