Originally posted on Tigers Weblog  |  Last updated 6/14/13

LAKELAND, FL - FEBRUARY 21: (EDITOR'S NOTE: IMAGES HAVE BEEN DIGITALLY DESATURATED) Manager, Jim Leyland #10 of the Detroit Tigers poses for a portrait during Photo Day on February 21, 2009 at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Detroit Tigers: 36-28, 1st Place (4.5 ahead of Cleveland). Well the Tigers had a much-needed day off to shake off their latest one-run loss (their 11th), a 2nd consecutive Valverde home run derby which even had manager Jim Leyland playing hot potato. When Leyland says “who the (expletive) should I close with?” he does have a point. It wasn’t Leyland’s idea to have Valverde as a closer, and he has tried everyone from Coke to Benoit to Alburquerque to Rondon in the role, with nothing but problems. And when you look at the trade options Dombrowski has (Papelbon?) I can imagine he has his own expletives. This Closer creature is a mysterious beast, often record-setting one year and a scapegoat the next. And it is also a fairly new creature, one perhaps spawned by a baseball writer who created the Save statistic (thanks to StorminNorman$ for the link, I recommend reading this).  One thing in the article that’s hard to argue with: Billy Beane’s point that you can look at all the probabilities you want, but closing a game is an emotion magnet, with the fans, the writers, and even the players drawn in. There is something about being ahead in the 9th and then losing that just does not sit well. The fan comments on blogs are one thing, but even the Tiger players looked demoralized Wednesday. So the logical answer to Leyland’s question might be that you don’t need to “close with anybody.” Does it really make sense to only use who is supposedly your best relief pitcher in “save situations,” games that statistically you are overwhelmingly going to win no matter who pitches? It is almost a self-perpetuating system: closers are judged–and paid–by numbers of saves, then used in such a way to maximize their numbers of saves without a real thought whether this is really the best way to use them.  Oh, and they only pitch the 9th and only the 9th inning. This is not to suggest that there is any chance of Jim Leyland doing anything other than having a Setup Guy/Closer system. In that light, I’ll throw this in: last night Rondon K’d the side in the 9th for a save for the Mud Hens. **** 1968 Detroit Tigers bullpen: ERA: .226 WHIP: 1.113 W/L:  29-13 Saves: 29 Saves: 7 Pat Dobson 7 Darryl Patterson 5 Fred Lasher 3 John Warden 2 John Hiller 2 John Wyatt 1 Mickey Lolich 1 Don McMahon 1 Dennis Ribant ***** In other news, the Tigers signed Johnathan Crawford, their top pick in the draft, along with 18 others, including Ben “Little Bro” Verlander. ***** As for tonight, the big news is that Ajax is back! To make room for Jackson, Avisail Garcia has been returned to Toledo. There is also a guy in Center for Minnesota who may look familiar: Clete Thomas gets the start for the Twins tonight. ***** Today’s Player of the Pre-game:  Austin Jackson. Let’s see if Austin can wake up the road offense. He is only 4-for18 career against Diamond, but I am predicting he comes back with a flourish. Today’s Welcome Back Ajax Lineup: Jackson, CF Hunter, RF Cabrera, 3B Fielder, DH Martinez, 1B Peralta, SS Tuiasosopo, LF Infante, 2B Avila, C Avila gets the start even with the lefty pitching; Infante works his way up into the 8th spot.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Phil Jackson reportedly does not have opt-out until 2017

Byron Scott: D’Angelo Russell’s immaturity ‘at times’ a problem

Kevin Love: Shoulder injury ‘just a stinger’

Nets’ Joe Johnson would ‘welcome’ a trade

Report: Grizzlies want Kevin Durant in free agency

WATCH: Karl-Anthony Towns throws down monster dunk


Dos Anjos: McGregor will 'break like a girl' at UFC 196

WATCH: D'Angelo Russell hit in groin by LeBron pass

Kobe Bryant has great response to Tyronn Lue story

Report: St. Louis Blues no longer interested in Jonathan Drouin

Doc Rivers: Warriors have 'swagger' of defending champion

Damian Lillard added as a finalist for 2016 U.S. Olympic Team

Terrell Owens tells Skip Bayless to stop ‘misinforming’ people

8-year-old Panthers fan writes adorable letter to Cam Newton

Donovan McNabb: I did not throw up during Super Bowl loss

Seven teams that must target a quarterback in 2016 NFL draft

Fighter says sex before fight partly to blame for loss

Kevin McHale: James Harden being out of shape hurt Rockets early

WATCH: Kevin Love re-injures left shoulder

Johnny Manziel’s grandpa on ex-girlfriend: ‘The girl has her problems’

Andy Dalton reunited with missing luggage thanks to social media

Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson used to soak his ankles in urine

Why Tom Thibodeau needs to be in New York

Defensemen in high demand as NHL trade deadline looms

Thank you Daniel Bryan

MLB 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

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker