Sunday, October 04, 2009

Can Anyone Comprehend Manager Jim Leyland's Decisions in a MUST WIN Game?

We were all forced to accept the fact that the Detroit Tigers, and Jim Layland were going to subject us to starting a rookie in Alfredo Figaro on the mound on Saturday. While we all were likely scratching our heads that he would use a guy that had pitched a grand total of 15 innings in the majors. A guy that had a WHIP of 1.74 in those innings, and 8 walks to boot in a MUST WIN game where the Tigers were clutching to a very weak 1 game lead with 2 games to go. When the Twins were playing KC, and odds are that they were going to win a minimum of 2/3 against them, but possibly all 3. I'm sure they are already buying their victory cigars online to celebrate since the Tigers have been laughable at closing this out.

OK, we were forced to accept this going into the game. Now we get to the game and Figaro looks rocky right off the bat. Gives up a run in the first inning, and then proceeds to load the bases in the 2nd inning. Leyland then comes and pulls him at this point after pitching just 1 1/3 with 1 ER. He brings in Fu-Te Ni at this point to pitch to ONE batter and he proceeds to get a double play ground ball that Polanco proceeds to boot (Don't let the official scorer fool you. The tigers had 2 errors in that game whether they called them errors or not. They gave a hit out to a ball Becham of Chicago booted as well so the official scorer must be a fan of faking stats.) and a run scores on the play because of it getting only one out instead of 2.

Next...he decides to take Fu-Te Ni out after facing just ONE batter. This is the 2nd inning mind you and thoughts of a "First 50 fans get to pitch" night starts going through your head. So who does he bring in next? Armando Galarraga who used to be in the rotation, and actually has pitched in dozens of MLB games. yet he was horrible this year and we probably can't even remember the last time he pitched.

While this could have been another complete disaster, Armando came out and pitched exceptional. He was pitching perfectly fine. HE what an inning prolonged by a Maggs missed fly ball, and Perry proceeded to give up a run when he came in on Armando's stat line. The stat line is not the problem though. The problem was a couple of things. HE was pitching well and there was no reason to pull him, and he should have just been the starter in the first place if it was going to go down like this. A guy with something to prove, and a history of being able to pitch deep into games.

Leyland had 3 guys in his bullpen with significant MLB starting experience. Zach Miner, Jeremy Bonderman (He wasn't suspended yet. He appealed it.), and the aforementioned Armando Galarraga. Considering that Figaro was a very green rookie he went a head and used him instead of any 3 of those guys. Even with the incredibly short leash that Figaro was given, why exactly was he even starting in the first place? All 3 of those other guys clearly would have been a more logical choice.

Miner had pitched 12 straight scoreless inning coming into this game. He hadn't pitched since Sept. 30 and yet he was not used. The fact that I would have rather seen him start than Figaro is besides the point. Of all the guys you have to bring in when you need a guy to go 4-5 innings you don't even bring him in then. Instead you bring in Armando who has had an awful year. Armando stepped up for the most part, but the decision is still baffling.

When replacing Armando, he brought in another guy with serious control issues in Ryan Perry. Another very young and inexperienced pitcher. He proceeded to bean Quentin as his first batter, and then gave up a double and a run to Armando's stat line. He pitched OK for another couple innings, but the damage was done, and the decision to take Armando out was ridiculous.

On top of all this he didn't stop there. In the 9th inning, trailing by 3, he proceeded to bring in Fernando Rodney. The closer. A guy that has literally been destroyed in almost EVERY SINGLE NON-SAVE outing he has had this year. His ERA is literally close to 7 in non-save situations. Rodney of course sucked in this situation loading the bases and giving up the run they just got back in the 8th. HE ended up throwing 24 pitches, and probably made himself unavailable to pitch TODAY if he were needed.

On the other hand, we have the Minnesota Twins. The team breathing down their necks. Instead of throwing out a pitcher on Sunday that they don't think is ready for such a monumental game, what do they do? They list Pavano as their starter on short rest. 3 days rest actually. A guy that has been absolutely unhittable by the teams in the AL Central this year. If you don't understand what I am getting at here let me explain it. When you have a MUST WIN game you put a guy out there you can trust. Short rest, or not. You are in a do, or die situation, and using some unknown rookie with no experience should NEVER cross your mind. You didn't have to start Verlander yesterday, but of all your options, Figaro was probably the absolute last, and worst possible choice for the situation.

Now since this team couldn't get it done by losing 3 straight, we are forced to use Justin Verlander on the last game of the year to just try and win so they might be able to TIE Minnisota and force a one game playoff. The guy that should have been the starter opening the playoffs. Odds are we have the rookie Rick Porcello pitching in that one game playoff. At least he is the best option considering the other choices are Robertson who is a disaster in the making, and Edwin Jackson who has went from stud to stunted.

I don't even need to tell you how big of a choke job all of our hitters have displayed the past few games. I know people will try to defend him, but Miguel Cabrera (awesome season stats and all) has been an absolute choke artist with runners in scoring position, and every clutch situation he has been in during this disaster finish. Swinging at the first pitch every AB, and getting down 0-2 on more than one occasion. Getting down 0-2 every AB is Brandon Inge's job, and don't even get me started on him. All you Inge lovers can blow me. I knew he was garbage before the season, and he still is garbage.

We are all blessed now with Leyland getting an extension earlier this year and we get to see him for a while longer do some of the dumbest things a manger can do. A guy that uses small ball so poorly that you wonder how this guy ever managed to coach in the National League. His lefty/righty fascination is to the point that you almost expect a pitcher to hit at times just to adhere to this philosophy. LEYLAND SUCKS. Get rid of him and take Lloyd McClendon, and his best friend Marcus Thames with him.

Dombrowski hasn't been any better, but I'm not going to spend any more time on this disaster of a roster. I could go on for days, but it is early in the day and I don't want to be any more pissed than I already am.

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