Pelfrey on Dozier: “Maybe I should’ve been more careful”

The second-inning pitch that Brian Dozier lined into left field for a two-run single and a 4-0 Twins lead Thursday was below the knees but over the plate. It was pretty much the pitch that Mike Pelfrey and James McCann wanted in that situation if they were going to pitch to the Twins All-Star leadoff man.

“I thought it was a good pitch, if I’m going to go after him,” Pelfrey said.

The “if” part came up more after the game than the pitch.

Dozier stepped to the plate with a 2-0 Twins lead, runners at second and third with two outs, Pelfrey trying to get out of a four-hit and left-hander Blaine Hardy warming up in the Tigers bullpen. On deck was switch-hitter Jorge Polanco, who fell a triple shy of the cycle in Tuesday’s Twins win.

Polanco entered the day batting 18-for-45 (.400) against lefties, including three hits off Matt Boyd on Tuesday. Manager Brad Ausmus, asked about the situation, did not want him to face another lefty with an RBI situation.

“I was going to bring in the lefty at that point,” Ausmus said, “and Polanco’s a better right-handed hitter.”

The strategy suggested he didn’t want Pelfrey to face Polanco with the bases loaded, either. He was willing to take his chances with Dozier to avoid that, at least in the early stages of the game.

“Bases loaded, you also leave yourself nowhere to maneuver,” Ausmus said. “A walk is a run. Anything’s a run. Early in the game, you expect to score some runs. We scored one run. …

“Generally, you don’t want the main guy to beat you. That early in the game, I’m not overly concerned about it.”

That said, McCann indicated Polanco’s presence wasn’t a primary concern.

“Honestly, I know Polanco’s had some hits against us, but Dozier’s so hot right now,” McCann said. “He wasn’t the guy that we wanted to beat us. We wanted to make Polanco continue to swing the bat. You look at Dozier’s year, especially what he’s done since the All-Star break, that’s the guy you can’t let beat you.”

Pelfrey put Dozier in an 0-2 hole on sinkers in the first inning before getting him to ground out. Once Dozier shrugged at two sliders off the plate, the situation was reversed, and Pelfrey had a decision to make with a 2-0 count.

“Yeah, probably not the smartest thing that I fell behind on two sliders,” Pelfrey said. “I threw a split that he swung through, came back with a heater, he swung through that, and we got back to 2-2.”

The 2-0 splitter was around the same location was the 2-2 splitter. The 2-1 fastball was over the plate, a challenge pitch. The Twins had an approach of making Pelfrey throw the fastball, but Dozier swung through it.

Pelfrey had a pitch to play with at 2-2. He went back to the splitter down, but not down enough to get out of Dozier’s reach. Pelfrey, who has been prone to self-criticism, second-guessed himself.

“Maybe I should’ve been more careful and walked him,” he said. “I didn’t think that split was necessarily a bad pitch, but he’s maybe the hottest hitter on the planet, and he obviously made me pay for it. That’s obviously — 4-0 compared to 2-0 is obviously a big deficit. Maybe I should’ve been a little smarter. …

“Maybe I should’ve been smarter. Again, he’s the hottest hitter on the planet. Maybe I should’ve walked him with first base open and tried to go after Polanco. But you get in the game, you get caught up in going after guys. Maybe it wasn’t the smartest thing in hindsight.”

McCann wasn’t so tough on the intent, focusing more on the pitch.

“He hit it off the end of the bat and blooped it in,” he said. “Yeah, maybe we try to get him to fish and it’s a different ballgame, different at-bat. But it wasn’t like we grooved him a heater and said, ‘Here you go, hit it.’ We were trying to work the count to make him hit our pitch.”

The difference, Ausmus, was the result.

“If he grounds out to third, you don’t even ask the question,” Ausmus said. “It’s all results-oriented. He got a hit. It was actually not well-hit, kind of a soft liner, simple as that.”

18 Comments

Pingback: Pelfrey on Dozier: “Maybe I should’ve been more careful” | Detroit Tigers

Excellent SPIN Brad.
It was an obvious mistake and one that Jack Morris suggested to avoid 4 pitches earlier.
You know it must be very difficult to have to comment with mics thrust in your face after a loss but Brad is FOS. When asked if he thought he should have walked Dozier in that situation he actually tried to pretend (at first) he didn’t understand the question.
I was glad when JL retired and I will be just as glad when Illitch fires him.

Looking for positivity?
This is about as positive as a fan can get. Helps to have blinders on rather than just rose-coloured glasses:
http://motorcitybengals.com/2016/09/15/detroit-tigers-will-make-the-playoffs/

Just for the record, I agreed with Morris at the time. It means Pelfrey pitches to Polanco with bases loaded and that’s exactly what I would have done.
“If he grounds out to third, you don’t even ask the question,” Ausmus said. Well, maybe the “you” here wouldn’t ask the question but I would have wanted the answer anyway.

What about next year?
Can we really afford another year of men LOB? With Victor getting even slower. Clogging up the bases when he is fortunate enough to get on. Another year older is very unlikely to see him improve let alone match what has happened this year. With Ortiz gone would the Bosox be at all interested?
What-Up with J-Up? Below average defense, the only consistency is in the strike-outs. Lazy at times. What a contract though. We’re stuck.
Jones in CF? Maybin has had a good year but has no power, has not stolen bases like we need him to and is injured pretty much all the time. Do you pick up that option?
I see JD staying. Casty as well.
Kinsler is not going anywere.
Would not be surprised to see Iggy on the trade block.
Don’t even want to think about the pitching. ZMann and Pelfrey have been huge disappointments. Pelfrey has zero chance of a comeback. Zimmermann is a longshot and dream. Possible, yes but at best you are going to get mixed results from a mid-rotation starter.
K-Rod will not be a 40 save closer next year.
Moya will be gone. Probably Machado.
Salary constraints will hurt the team’s chances even with a new manager.
Ausmus has had 3 years to show he is a good manager. He has failed to do that and the chip on his shoulder is becoming increasingly apparent.
I know Illitch has waited a long time.
So have we.

Os,Yankees, Tribe lost.The time is running out but this is not over.
Next year?a real C

Not Moya as PH”Collins is the guy we’ve had up here all year,” Ausmus said. “He’s done well for us. You stick with the horse that got you here.”
Leyland never left

I would of also liked to have seen Moya for something different….but in reality Collins got on base…..and 3-4 didn’t all day…actually 1-3 stranded many runners

Moya has had the one AB last Saturday since being called up. It’s a safe bet that he would have struck out. He’ll get his PT after the Tigers are eliminated.

Just like Collins would have done if he didn’t walk!
The thing is Moya can hit a ball 480′ and Collins can’t hit it 380
Moya can “run into one” once in a while and when you are down a couple late it can be a weapon

In the “it pays to have a backup plan” department, I just purchased postseason tickets for Washington. IF the Nats have a better record than the Dodgers, and IF there is a game five in the NLDS, I’ll be there for either a celebration or a funeral. If those things don’t happen, I get my money back. Same as I did in 2012, and that game was played. Funeral.

Wurster on Pelfrey: “Shoud have been more careful? Duh.” Dozier is a short man with a low stance. That pitch was very hittable and, like Jack Morris said, needed to be in the dirt and it wasn’t even close. Poor pitch choice as well. Dozier was shown a very similar pitch in that at bat and he was ready for it. I believe the pitchers need to take more control from McCann over pitch selection. He’s too green to know the quality of the MLB hitters.

Collins is just a rookie and one who was banned for a while. Moya was part of the horses for 27 games

Cleveland loses 3 of 4 to White Sox, Royals swept 4-0 by Oakland and it wasn’t pretty. 3-16, 4-5, 0-8, 5-14. Tigers at least split. Disappointing yesterday but history now. Hopefully Brad figured it out who not to start down the shortening stretch. No fool me twice please. In addition, Yanks blew a 5-2 8th inning lead on Boston. Betances allows 5 runs in 9th resulting in a stunning 7-5 loss. Baltimore loses to reported lowly Tampa Bay. Point is, there is plenty of choking to go around. We are not the only ones participating in the chokefest. The remaining WC and Division contenders are all playing each other multiple times. Tigers beat Indians even 5 of 7 times and gap narrows to 3. Get into the playoffs and anything can happen. Baseball is unpredictable.

That is positive Marty and I like the sound of it.
Seems the only thing that has been predictable for the Tigers this year is the vanishing act after several 3 or 4 game winning streaks.

Well some of Ausmus’ horses should be in the bloody glue factory.

Yep, one thing you can say about the WC race: it’s as difficult to get OUT of it as it is to get IN it.

It took far too long to acknowledge Aviles’ deficiencies.
Anybody figure out why Ausmus PH with Maybin for James? I thought the idea was to rest the wrist?
He has made some very controversial decisions all year but the last while has been puzzling. Pelfrey not starting on Sept 15th should have been a no-brainer.
I also recall a couple of time Aybar was left to hit away in obvious bunt situations. And he is known as an excellent bunter!

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