Bullpen at full strength following rainout

Bullpen at full strength following rainout

Bullpen at full strength following rainout
DETROIT -- Thanks to Wednesday's rainout, the Tigers entered Game 4 of the American League Championship Series with their full bullpen available. Thanks to all that happened before that, they began the day with their same closer by committee.

That includes Phil Coke, who would not have been available on Wednesday after throwing in each of the first three games of the ALCS.


"He's in a good groove right now," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I would like to really, preferably, stay away from him one more day, if I could, but he is able to be used today. So, you know, I might do that if the situation dictates it."

With five left-handed hitters in the Yankees' starting lineup, and at least one switch-hitter who hits for less power against lefties, it's fairly easy to see that situation coming up, especially in the ninth inning.

Coke already has two saves in this series. One more and he'd become the first Tiger to save three wins in a single postseason series.

As for Jose Valverde, still the closer in name waiting for a chance to get back into a save situation, he's still waiting. Leyland wouldn't rule Valverde in or out for getting his opportunity on Thursday.

"He is in a good frame of mind," Leyland said. "I have been checking in with him every day. He is in good spirits. He wants to win, you know, so it's just a situation that we will see how it plays out. But he's a terrific teammate. He is in great spirits and a great frame of mind right now."

When asked whether the Game 1 debacle might linger with Valverde, Leyland delivered a one-liner.

"I can't answer that. I don't go home and have dinner with him," Leyland deadpanned.