Originally written on Detroit Sports 360  |  Last updated 10/22/14
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Phil Coke Phil Coke of the Detroit Tigers had himself an odd year in 2011. Starting the season in the rotation, Coke produced terrible numbers. In 14 starts, he threw 74.2 innings (an average on only 5.1 IP per start) with an ERA of 4.82, 37 SO (which produces a horrendous K/9 rate of 4.46), 30 BB (which equates to a terrible BB/9 rate of 3.63), and a 1-8 record. Ladies and gentlest of all gentlemen, as a starter Phil Coke had a strikeout to walk ratio of 1.23.  Whoa. Jim Leyland had no choice but to insert Coke back into the bullpen, where he found much more success lowering his overall ERA nearly a half run to 4.47. Coke sees himself in a different role this year, one that is much better suited for him. REGRESSION: Innings Pitched – This is not with regards to him starting games last year which allowed him to rack up 108.2 IP on the year. Rather, his role has decreased thanks to the Tigers signing journeyman Octavio Dotel during the winter meetings. It has been said that Dotel will take over 7th inning duties this year. Partner that with Verlander and Fister rarely (if ever) being taken out before the end of the sixth, and Scherzer and Porcello sure to improve, the innings are just not there for Coke. So Coke now looks to dominate lefties. That will be his role – top LH option out of the pen. But with the back end of the bullpen sewed up, Leyland will just not have to call on Coke so much this year. BAA vs RH: – In his career, Phil Coke has a Batting Average Against of .280 versus right handed hitters. Looking at his role this year, Coke should predominately face LH. But in the situation (which should be rare this year) where Coke has an inning to himself, and there is a right handed hitter sandwiched between two lefties, the results probably will not be the prettiest, as he simply may forget how to pitch to righties somewhat. PROGRESSION: ERA – This is pretty much a softball here. Coke is being placed in a mold that has had success with him to this point – that being a lefty specialist. While Coke will be the top option out of the pen not named Dotel, Benoit, Valverde and Albuquerque  (when he returns to full health and old form), the times which middle relief is needed should be relatively small. Having so little batters to face makes his ERA a sink or swim type category, but with Coke facing lefties more often than not, this number will be much more pleasing to look at then the 4.47 he posted last year. BAA vs LH: – For his career, Coke’s Batting Average Against stat when dealing with lefties is .224. Last year it was .215. With LH being his top priority (whether he prepares like it is or not), his increased focus should yield a career number here. Coke’s role may significantly decrease this year, but in turn, he should experience much more success. // < ![CDATA[ // < ![CDATA[ // < ![CDATA[ google_ad_client = "ca-pub-2050928829510309"; /* erics */ google_ad_slot = "8665250378"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 60; // ]]>
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K Rate: - In the 474 batters Coke faced last year, he had 69 strikeouts. That equates to a  K rate of 14.55%, which is not the brightest sun of them all. However, when it came to the 167 left handers Coke faced last year, he struck out 36 of them, which equates to a K rate of 21.5%….a much healthier number. With Coke looking to face a majority of left handers, on top of being a better pitcher against said lefties, his K rate should increase tremendously…possibly by 75%. PREDICTION: 70 GP 60.2 IP 3-2 3.34 ERA 53 SO 22 BB 1.27 WHIP Related Tigers Links  Tigers Home Page - Stats, Free Agent Rumors, Custom Tigers Profiles for Detroit fans  Tigers Roster - See Tigers Roster and Current Salary  Free Agent Tracker - To track all the free agents and who is left  Tigers Article: Brandon Inge: Man in the Mirror – Eric S – Fan Submission Tigers Article: The Tigers are good, Inge is not, let’s all move on! – By Dave Danese Tigers Article: Detroit Tigers Preview and Predictions: Delmon Young – By Eric Steplitus   DS360 Tags: phil coke, Detroit Tigers, Jim Leyland

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