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Managing (or lack of it)?hurting Tigers/Paul Peterson

May 24, 2011
By Paul Peterson - For the Gazette , The Daily Mining Gazette

Like the much-publicized Rapture/Doomsday this past weekend, Detroit manager Jim Leyland's brain failed to show up in a road series in Pittsburgh.

Never mind that the Tigers managed to salvage one game out of three against one of the worst baseball teams going. In fact, the Pirates have put together a mind-boggling 20 straight sub- .500 seasons.

The bonehead managing of Leyland continues to amaze and infuriate me - just as it does an ever growing number of Tigers fans around the state.

Take his decision to remove starting hurler Rick Porcello to begin the ninth inning of Sunday's game. All Porcello was doing was throwing a one-hitter and completely baffling the Bucs. And - this is even more puzzling - he had thrown just 84 pitches.

In the conventional thinking of today's baseball minds, a pitcher automatically loses all of his stuff after throwing a set number (usually a 100 or so) of pitches. It doesn't matter if he has a shutout going ... the hook comes out.

There was no way that Porcello should not have been sent out for the ninth inning.

If you don't believe me, read some of the comments in the Detroit papers. Large numbers of fans in Motown want Leyland fired immediately.

The thing about the Detroit skipper that he rivals one of our recent Presidents for sheer stubborness. It's his way or the highway for any player who questions his moves.

And should a member of the media question his strategy, he's given a dirty look and lightly dismissed.

The Detroit boss prefers to handle the carefully sugar-coated questions of a Mario Impemba or Rod Allen, whose jobs depend on their complete adherence to the rules in effect.

Leyland's coaches are a carefully picked crew of cronies who have apparently forgotten what they knew about the game.

Third base coach Gene "Cigar Store Indian" Lamont cost the team a key run in a game last week against Boston last week when he refused to send a runner home on a fly ball near the wall in Fenway Park. And it wasn't the first time his coaching has been errant.

I've seen better examples of coaching in the Twilight League. Or even the 50 And Over Softball League.

I also seriously question why Leyland continues to put weak-hitting Ryan Raburn in the number three spot in the batting order.

The three slot is usually designated for the best hitter on your team, say an Albert Pujols or Mark Teixeira. Not a guy, who at last check, was hitting .202.

And why does an ineffective relief pitcher like Ryan Perry continue to get into close games?

Raburn and Perry should either be shipped to Toledo or packaged in a trade to get a late-inning pitcher who can throw a strike.

With the sterling starting pitching the Tigers possess, and a number of good hitters, there's no way this team should be hovering around .500 and chasing a very average Cleveland team.

Detroit fans are among the most loyal anywhere, but they're also very knowledgeable about the game.

They deserve better managing of their team.



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