Is this what they mean by "Christmas in July"? Before this afternoon's Tigers-White Sox game, Jim Leyland finally announced the move that seemed all but inevitable after Friday night's blown save. Todd Jones is no longer the Detroit Tigers' closer.
Curiously, Leyland saved the announcement for the radio pre-game show with Dan Dickerson on WXYT-AM in Detroit, rather than give the news to print reporters and TV broadcasters. Maybe this was to prevent Jones's demotion from being the news, rather than today's game, or to give Jones a chance to prepare for facing the media after the game.
So who takes over in the ninth inning? The man who's suddenly become the most reliable late-inning reliever in the Tigers' bullpen, Fernando Rodney. While Jones has blown three of his last seven save opportunities and watched his ERA increase by more than a full run (3.86 to 4.99), Rodney hasn't allowed a run in his last 5 2/3 innings and thrown nine strikeouts.
More on this later, as explanations are given. As I write this, however, Joel Zumaya was taken out of the game in the eighth inning with an apparent injury, which is terrible timing for the Tigers' bullpen.
UPDATE: Zumaya left the game with tightness in his right tricep. His status was given as day-to-day after the ballgame. Apparently, this was more of a precautionary measure, rather than something extremely serious.