The Tigers bats were silent yet again last night and squandered another great outing by a Tigers starter. Drew Smyly pitched another masterful 6 innings and allowed one run on 2 hits with 6 K’s. This rookie is beyond impressive. He came into the season as a relative unknown and with little to no hype or expectations and has shown scouts why he they all should’ve known his name before now. I do think that he probably should have been allowed to stay in the game longer as he’d only thrown 93 pitches and give him some extra time and see how well he’d continue to do, but Luke Putkonen did an admirable job for his first inning in relief. He did struggle a little in the 8th and although I love Duane Below I think in the situation he was in that he should have been left in to finish the inning. He allowed a lead off double to Michael Saunders and then Chone Figgins executed a sacrifice bunt (as he should) to move saunder to third base. Leyland then pulled Putkonen and brought in Below to create the sacred lefty lefty matchup. What is needed from a pitcher in that situation is a strikeout and for all of his positive attributes strikeouts are not really Below’s specialty. He’s primarily a location pitcher topping out around 92 mph with a lot of movement on his secondary pitches and more like Porcello in using ground balls to get outs more. Putkonen, on the other hand, throws 96-97 mph and has a dirty curve ball which he used to strike out lefty Justin Smoak and righty Alex Liddi in the 7th inning. In that situation I think Leyland could have left Putkonen in to pitch to Jaso even though he’s a lefty. Still Jaso hit a base hit and then was thrown out by Ryan Raburn trying to turn it into a double. Below then got Brendan Ryan to ground out to Cabrera at 3rd base, but the damage had been done. Yes Below has only allowed 3 of his 11 inherited runners to scor and was pitching against a lefty, but I think Putkonen’s stuff puts you in a better position to get out of that jam.Yes this loss falls on the bullpen, and more specifically Luke Pukonen, but the situation could have again been avoided if the Tigers could have mustered any semblance of offense. With only 5 hits and one walk and 8 runners left on base, the Tigers offense that is supposed to be so powerful was held in check yet again with hardly a stressful situation created. Something needs to be done about the offense now.
About the Author
Written by Brett Decker
I'm a graduate of Olivet Nazarene University with a degree in Social and Political Science. I love talking sports and welcome sports related tweets @decker_brett.