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Matt Shepard

Shep's Take: Enough Is Enough

 

This is not revolutionary. I'm not stopping any presses.

But the Tigers need to rid themselves of Phil Coke. 

He's 31-years-old, and can still throw a fastball in the low to mid 90's. But he is a situational pitcher out of the Tigers bullpen.

Photo/Getty Images

His job is pretty simple: Get left-handed hitters out. He can't do that. His latest outing on Saturday night saw the three lefties he faced all collect hits. Nori Aoki singled, Eric Hosmer doubled and so did Alex Gordon. Lefties are now hitting .368 against Coke this year, ninth worst in the American League (LH vs. LH). Last year he ranked even worse! He was seventh in all of baseball when facing left-handed hitters (.300). Teams, as a whole this season, are batting .382 against him overall, fifth worst in the A.L. 

What more does he need to prove he's NOT worthy?

There are five guys in Triple-A right now, at Toledo, who are left-handed and have better rates against lefties. Left-handed hitters are batting just .212 against Robbie Ray, .217 against Blaine Hardy, .250 against Kyle Lobstein and .269 against both Duane Below and Nate Robertson. 

I don't think there is one Tigers player, when in the field behind Coke, who truly feels confident in his ability to get batters out. 

Ask yourself this: if he weren't left-handed, would he still be on this team? The answer is a quick and definitive NO. All I care about is whether or not a reliever can get batters out, and Coke can no longer do that. 

I get that numbers can be deceiving, but there is no deception when looking at Phil Coke. Just asking opposing hitters. The Tigers are only deceiving themselves if they think he is still worth having on this roster.

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