We kicked this off with 22 likely "locks" on the Tigers' playoff roster yesterday. (Honestly, I think you could go with 23, but that would cut down on the number of posts I could milk this for so I won't.) This series will continue throughout the week. Today, it continues with a player who by most measures should be on the roster: Duane Below.
A couple of questions have to be sorted out to find room for Britton, Mich., native and LHP Duane Below on the Tigers' roster.
The first is, will the Tigers take Brad Penny for his playoff experience or some sort of loyalty or something? Given how he has pitched for the past month, it seems harder and harder for the Tigers to justify giving Penny a playoff spot. That has to boost Below's chances of making the squad.
The second question is, do the Tigers feel like they need three left handers in the bullpen? If they're going to end up playing New York or Boston, the answer has to be "yes," doesn't it? Both clubs have some fearsome sluggers. Below has actually been pretty good at getting both right-handed and left-handed batters out during his stint in the major leagues, though, which could work in his favor as well.
You might want to ask if Al Alburquerque will be healthy enough to make the playoff roster, too. If he's not, that would open another spot in the bullpen up, which might improve Below's odds.
In the end, I think Below ought to be on the playoff roster. With Penny's recent poor outing, I think Below almost certainly will be there too.
Why Below might make it
- Avg / OBP / SLG vs left-handers: .261 / .327 / .348, 9 strikeouts, 1 HR, 2.25 K:BB ratio
- Avg / OBP / SLG vs right-handers: .246 / .314 / .344, 1 HR
- Can perform in the mop-up role or a sixth-inning role
Why Below might not make it:
- Brad Penny's playoff experience is greater than most of the Tigers' staff. (Hat-tip Oakland Press writer Matthew B Mowery's blog)
- Tigers decide three lefties in the pen is too many
- Has only been used in two games during the past 2 weeks.