Detroit Tigers fans may have thought that the “Closer by Committee” was put to rest after the impressive performance turned in by Phil Coke in Monday’s Opening Day win over the Minnesota Twins, but that became cloudy again after Wednesday’s collapse.
The ideal closer situation for the Tigers lasted just one game before it came crashing down. I hope you can tell that I’m obviously over exaggerating the situation, but it’s a situation nevertheless. Coke came into the game in the ninth inning after Joaquin Benoit walked the first batter of the inning. After getting one out, Coke then gave up a single, and then a walk off-off double.
Coke threw multiple bad pitches up in the zone that the Twins teed off on, but this game was lost in the outfield when Andy Dirks and Austin Jackson failed to communicate on a deep fly ball. This was ultimately the two-run double that won the game.
What’s the answer for the closer position? Your guess is as good as mine. I would like to think that Coke just had a bad day, but who knows? The Tigers have a plethora of options with Al Alburquerque, Benoit, and even Octavio Dotel who can all come in and close. I thought that Coke would be the best option, and I feel like it would be silly to change that due to one bad appearance in early April.
This will be a question all year long until the Tigers either make a deal for an experienced closer or name one of the options from the bullpen, and then there will most likely still be questions. I still think that someone on the team can do the job but there is always Papa Grande (Jose Valverde). I’m kidding of course.
The Tigers will be fine and everyone needs to calm down. Is it something to keep an eye on? Yes. Is it something to freak out about? No. Score some runs with the powerhouse offense you have and avoid being in this situation in the first place.