Three intriguing questions and story lines connected to the Detroit Tigers as they resume play after the All-Star break:
What needs to be done with the bullpen?
If your answer has something to do with dynamite, you're only partially correct.
Joaquin Benoit and Drew Smyly provide consistent late-inning prowess, and Luke Putkonen is looking reliable in early relief.
But questions abound about every other reliever, and even in regard to Benoits role as the closer for the deposed Jose Valverde.
Detroits bullpen is 8-16 with a 4.15 ERA and has blown nine saves while converting 20. No bullpen has won fewer games, and only two have a higher earned-run average.
Phil Coke (0-5, 5.83 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and 4.6 walks per nine innings) is being booed loudly when he sprints into games and even more when he falters. The club cant afford to go any longer with him because many of his performances are demoralizing.
When I asked Tigers manager Jim Leyland about the critical importance of one more...