Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit
By STEVE KORNACKI  |  Last updated 8/20/13
DETROIT The next pitch Phil Coke throws will be for the Toledo Mud Hens, and that will have a calming effect on Detroit Tigers fans who had taken to booing him as he sprinted in from the bullpen at Comerica Park. Coke was sent to Triple-A to work onwell, everything. The 2013 post-season star gave up a line-drive double to Minnesota Twins left-handed slugger Justin Morneau that drove in two runs and changed the course of a game Detroit would lose, 6-3, on Tuesday night. That made it 5-1 for the Twins and Coke was taken out after intentionally walking the next batter. Tigers manager Jim Leyland has given Coke every chance to stay on the 25-man roster. But with him failing as a situational lefty, there really was nothing left to try. Left-handed starter Jose Alvarez was called up from Toledo, having made a good impression in his spot start on Friday against the Kansas City Royals. But if Alvarez doesnt look like someone youd want to trust coming in from the bullpen in a playoff game, Darin Downs should be called up in the next 10 days. Hes been sharp in his last six outings for Toledo with no runs allowed in 8 13 innings on four hits and four walks. Downs made a good impression with Detroit earlier this season before trying to pitch through a shoulder injury, and hes somebody the Tigers are watching very closely. Adding another dependable left-handed reliever for sixth- and seventh-inning situations is critical. The only left-hander who is a lock to make the playoff roster is eighth-inning setup man Drew Smyly. So, dont discount the possibility of Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski making a waiver deal by the Aug. 31 deadline. Coke was told of the move after the game. He did not necessarily agree with us, Leyland said. But he was very professional. Coke said, I figured it wouldve happened in the first half not now. The velocity was back and I was getting big outs lately. Coke was 0-5 with a 5.83 ERA in the first half, and 0-0 with a 1.35 ERA since. But you cant rely on those numbers to judge his second-half effectiveness. Often times, Coke came in and gave up a quick hit to a left-handed hitter and was immediately taken out of the game. If that one runner didnt score, his ERA didnt go up. But heres an interesting statistic to ponder: Coke posted a decent 3.44 ERA in road games, but had a 6.62 ERA this season at Comerica, where the boo birds had been chirping when he entered games. Still, the statistic that doomed him to Toledo was left-handers batting .284 off him. I asked Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones what was responsible for Cokes struggles versus left-handed hitters, who have hit .238 against him over his career. Hes just been inconsistent, Jones said. Cokes been inconsistent with his location. And, hopefully, he will get his breaking ball going a little better and doing what its done in the past. Coke had been a workhorse in the three previous seasons in which he was exclusively a reliever in Detroit -- getting 72, 74 and 66 appearances those years. He spent 15 days on the disabled list this season, but still was used just 43 times for 36 innings. Leyland said he had this message for Coke: Dont worry about getting outsConcern yourself with making good pitches. The skipper said Coke would return Sept. 1, when rosters expand for the final four weeks. Hes very much a part of our team, Leyland said. This gives us an opportunity to look at Alvarez and see how he looks against left-handers out of the bullpen. His breaking ball was better in his last start than it had been. Coke will get another chance to prove that hes worthy of the playoff roster next month. And so the callers to sports talk shows who loved to jump on Coke are only getting a chance to fret about something else for the rest of this week and next week. But now, rather than holding onto a spot in the bullpen, Coke will have to earn his way back. CABRERA IN PAIN: Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera aggravated something swinging at the first pitch in the ninth inning against Glenn Perkins, and it appeared to be either the abdominal or hip injuries hes played over for seven weeks. You could see it on his face, Leyland said. And when I saw him come up the steps (from the dugout to the clubhouse), you could see he was in pain. Leyland said he wasnt sure if it was the groin or stomach, and Cabrera didnt address reporters afterward.
Eddie Maisonet and Danny Leroux breakdown the state of the Sixers
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Seahawks, Vikings, Colts to be ‘players’ at trade deadline

Former NFL coach Marty Schottenheimer battling Alzheimer’s disease

Jamaal Charles (knee) to miss Sunday’s game against Colts

Report: C.J. Anderson will be in recovery for ‘months’

Indians' Roberto Perez reveals battle with Bell's palsy


76ers apologize for pulling singer from national anthem

Cubs fans line up outside bar at 5:30 am before Game 3

Sheldon Adelson threatens to walk away from Raiders stadium deal

NCAA set to distribute some revenue based on academic performance

Tom Brady nixes a future in coaching, blames lack of patience

Report: NFL interviewed Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott about domestic incident

30 athletes (and friends) who've done Halloween costumes right

CFB Crash Course Week 9: The underachievers already out of playoff contention

College Football Playoff set-up could keep best teams out of title contention

Box Score 10/28: London, Wrigley and the Cell

Four NBA teams that could surprise this season

NHL in three players: Carey Price is the MVP of sports

Rex Ryan: Pats’ violation of unwritten rule led to skirmish

LeBron doesn’t want Thompson bringing Khloe around Cavs?

NFL ratings decline is also hurting the restaurant business

WATCH: Breaking down the current state of the 76ers

Five things we have learned thus far in the World Series

Can Hell in a Cell still bring the heat?

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

CFB Crash Course Week 9: The underachievers already out of playoff contention

College Football Playoff set-up could keep best teams out of title contention

WATCH: Breaking down the current state of the 76ers

Five things we have learned thus far in the World Series

Can Hell in a Cell still bring the heat?

We’re doing the Bountygate thing again

Significant firsts for women's wrestling in WWE at 'Hell in a Cell'

One Gotta Go: Pac-12 players and coaches vs. the worst pickup ballers

A look back at 10 of the best-looking World Series

25 questions heading into the 2016-17 NBA season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker