The Detroit Tigers will carry three left-handed pitchers for the American League Championship Series against the Red Sox: Phil Coke has been added to the roster while Luke Putkonen was removed from it, the team announced. Chris Iott of MLive confirmed with the team that is the only roster change, though the roster has not been officially announced.
The move does come as a bit of a surprise, as Coke has not been the most effective reliever on the Tigers' roster and had health issues at the end of the season. Coke was shut down in September with a tender elbow, though apparently he's now healthy enough to play and the Tigers feel he can contribute. Coke had a 5.40 ERA for the season, but was slightly more effective against left-handers, judging by OPS (.860 versus right-handers, .760 versus left-handers). With an average against left-handers of .299 and an average against right-handers of .282 though, that platoon is still not a strong one.
The Red Sox are more effective vs. right-handed pitching, putting up an .818 OPS vs. them compared to .751 OPS against left-handers. David Ortiz especially shows a split, hitting for an OPS better than 1.000 vs righties and .733 vs lefties in 2013. So carrying an additional lefty in the bullpen might be a bit of a preventive measure.
Left-handers Jose Alvarez and Drew Smyly are both in the Tigers' pen, making Coke more of a second or third option.