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Tigers intentionally walk Jeff Francoeur in 10th, lose 8-3 to Royals

Apr 25, 2013, 6:03 PM EDT

Kansas City Royals v Boston Red Sox - Game Two Getty Images

It wasn’t the worst call of Jim Leyland’s life. It may not have even been the worst call he made today. But  Leyland opened the floodgates for a five-run 10th inning when he intentionally walked Jeff Francoeur in the 10th inning Thursday against the Royals. It was a 3-3 game at the time, but the Tigers went on to lose 8-3 after an Alex Gordon grand slam in the inning.

Francouer was walked by left-hander Phil Coke with one out and runners on second and third after a wild pitch. Coke had already walked a left-handed batter in the inning in Mike Moustakas and he went on to walk George Kottaras after the IBB, giving the Royals a one-run lead. Fellow lefty Darin Downs took over from there, and after getting a grounder to second that led to a forceout at home, he surrendered the slam to Gordon.

In truth, walking Francoeur there was a move a bunch of managers in Leyland’s position would have made. Francoeur has always hit lefties quite well. Even as lousy as he has been this season, he entered the day 7-for-18 against lefties, good for a .389 average. And on deck was a rusty left-handed hitting catcher with a career .194 average against lefties (Kottaras, who had taken over for Salvador Perez in the game, had just five plate appearances despite spending the whole season to date on the Royals’ roster). Coke’s entire reason for being is to retire left-handed batters, and if he could have gotten Kottaras for the second out, he had another set to hit in Chris Getz.

But this wasn’t Coke’s day. It is something that Leyland might have figured out during the walk to Moustakas, but if he was going to leave Coke in and not turn to a right-hander, then walking Francoeur was justified. Frankly, if I were going to blast Leyland about anything today, it’d be about giving yet another start to .118-hitting Don Kelly in left field.

  1. geoknows - Apr 25, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    It’s Salvador Perez…

    • Matthew Pouliot - Apr 25, 2013 at 6:33 PM

      Kind of ridiculous that I still call him Santiago a couple of times per year. Probably the only person in the world who still thinks of Santiago Perez.

  2. takingbovadasmoney - Apr 25, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    Runners on second and third, tie game, one out, left handed pitcher with right handed hitter up and left handed hitter on deck? Right handed hitters are hitting over .400 v. the left handed pitcher. You disagree with bringing the force into play? Have you ever watched a baseball game before?

    • thekcubrats - Apr 25, 2013 at 7:47 PM

      AlAl or Benoit comes in, Franc-case K’s, no prob. Leyland should’ve yanked PHILCOKE the minute he put MooseT on. A lefty hitting sub .150 and the fat LOOGY walks him? Leyland’s fetish for that total nonentity defies logic and description.

    • djpostl - Apr 25, 2013 at 11:50 PM

      What part of ” It is something that Leyland might have figured out during the walk to Moustakas, but if he was going to leave Coke in and not turn to a right-hander, then walking Francoeur was justified.” escaped your attention lol?

      Have you ever read an article before? Like the WHOLE article?

  3. historiophiliac - Apr 25, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    I swear to God, Don Kelly is someone’s wife’s nephew there.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Apr 25, 2013 at 6:34 PM

      See, I don’t even think I should blame Leyland for it any longer. Dombrowski knew he had the irrational soft spot for Kelly and then re-signed him anyway.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 25, 2013 at 7:44 PM

        I was so hopeful during the off season after they shed Kelly…and Boesch, Raburn & V-Wiggles. Kelly & Valverde have turned into boomerangs though. 😦 What’s Dombrowski’s wife’s maiden name?

        You’re right. DD is enabling Leyland. He knew from last year about the problem — when he had to put guys on the DL to keep Leyland from playing them. I really love Leyland’s loyalty but this is the Brandon Inge Fertilizer 2.0.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 25, 2013 at 8:35 PM

        Holy shit! I just fell in love with Katie Dombrowski. I had no idea who she was and what she did. (And, NOT a Kelly. Whew!)

      • historiophiliac - Apr 25, 2013 at 8:36 PM


        Edit Function!

      • Mr. Chickadee - Apr 26, 2013 at 10:55 AM

        And this is a good reason for it, historiophiliac:

  4. proudlycanadian - Apr 25, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    Instead of accentuating the negative about the Tigers, I want to accentuate the positives about the Royals. They are in first place in their division. The much necessary revamp of the starting rotation is working quite well so far this season. In the past, they did not have anyone who could realistically match up with Verlander. Today Shields pitched well and gave the Royals a chance to win the game.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Apr 25, 2013 at 9:23 PM

      And Proudly i want to give you some positives about the bluejays, Mark Buehrle is now leading the AL in homeruns with “9” How about that? Not too shabby!! I think he is going for Bonds’ season record!!! Go mark!!

  5. kcrobert10 - Apr 25, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    Hope it stays this way been way to long since the royals have won anything. By the way they are winning and really have not started hitting. Way to many off days with the schedule, weather and terrorist. Hope they keep it up they play hard all game, just watch em they are fun to watch. Go royals go.

  6. weaselpuppy - Apr 25, 2013 at 7:11 PM

    It never even gets there IF;

    Jimmy just runs out his normal bully rotation, now tha tPapa is back. JV through 7, then Benoit, then Papa. Game.

    Nope, in normal Smoky McStubborn fashion, he throws Rondon in for his MLB debut w a 1 run lead in the 8th. Butler singles, PR steals second and with two out he gives up the game tying single….

    Damn you Leyland….you do this every time with guys up from the minors in the pen. Luke PutCokeIn? Sure, why not, give him some high leverage work in a game we should have won after he gakks it….Villareal, same deal….

    And yes, the Kelly thing is now on Dombrowski. Castellanos can’t get here fast enough….

    • djpostl - Apr 25, 2013 at 11:52 PM

      Wait. Your entire theory is based on Valverde actually being reliable?

  7. 11thstreetmafia - Apr 25, 2013 at 7:25 PM

    This headline was very deceiving. The move was fine. It was the unintentional walks and the Grand Salami that did them in. Duh.

  8. Minoring In Baseball - Apr 25, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    The big picture is that the Tigers’ offense is not producing. The game never should have gone into extra innings, but that’s the way the game goes. DD knew they had a weak ‘pen and bench. The same thinking as last year, is that the starters and offense will pull them through.

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