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Bullpen management invites debate, or does it? Mariners 5, Tigers 4

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I'm guessing some folks aren't happy with the man in the middle.
I'm guessing some folks aren't happy with the man in the middle.

Final - 5.26.2010 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Detroit Tigers 0 0 2 0 0 2 0 0 0 4 10 0
Seattle Mariners 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 X 5 10 1
WP: Brandon League (4 - 4)
SV: David Aardsma (11)
LP: Ryan Perry (1 - 3)

Complete Coverage >


I'm guessing there's going to be some second-guessing going on for this game.

The Tigers led 4-1 entering the bottom of the eighth inning. Jeremy Bonderman, with 93 pitches, six strikeouts and five hits allowed under his belt, looked like he was set to go back into the game.

Instead, Jim Leyland made the signal to the bullpen to call on Ryan Perry.

You saw the rest, or have at least heard about it by now. Perry gave up five hits, including four in a row. One was a home run to Mike Sweeney. Another was a double to Rob Johnson. Josh Wilson drove in a pair of runs, too.

Two notes should be added before we move on. One, the Mariners are not particularly adept at scoring runs. Maybe that's being kind -- they're last in the American League. Two, the fifth through eighth batters were the ones to beat Perry around.

A classic case of Jim Leyland over-managing, right?

Maybe not.

For me, it comes down to this. The Tigers' bullpen had an ERA of 2.33 entering the game. Perry had allowed just three base runners across his past five appearances. Jose Valverde's ninth-inning numbers are so blindingly good they barely need mention. Detroit was 19-0 when leading after seven innings.

If you were Leyland, would you leave Bonderman out there in the eighth inning, or would you hand the game over to a near-automatic bullpen?

Me, I give it to the bullpen.

It didn't work out. That happens. It probably won't happen often, but it happens.

And it did.

Bullets!

  • Unlike Al, I'll use bullet points -- I tease!
  • Brennan Boesch is awesome.
  • Magglio Ordonez had a single, a double and a home run. Just a triple shy of the cycle.
  • Boesch also had two hits and a double. Not a bad day!
  • Batting third and playing first base, Ryan Raburn went 1-for-5. I do not quite have the same faith in him as some of my co-authors on the site, I must admit.
  • Perry's ERA went up from 2.41 to 4.26.
  • Adam Everett had an RBI-double and got his average up to .203. Impressive, huh?
  • The Twins lost two games today. So Detroit is just 1 game out of first place. The starting pitching seems to be righting itself a bit, and Bonderman did well. All good things.
  • I'm content with things overall.