downing Coke, and the pitching of Don Kelly


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

I don’t know what’s going on here. Why are so many of the pitchers suddenly losing their grip on reality all at the same time? Look, Paws knows Jose Reyes is good at baseball, but the rest of the lineup is still the Mets! Why is FredFred struggling so much when he says that his ‘stuff’ feels fine, and that he “doesn’t feel lost“? Why is the bullpen having such difficulties? Why is Phil Coke– nah, actually, we know what’s up with Phil Coke, he’s psyching himself out and nobody in the clubhouse is giving him consoling hugs to counteract it.

I’m only half joking about that, by the way. This was Coke’s quote after the game tonight:

Boos, no boos. Happy people, not happy people, it doesn’t matter, I’m doing the best I can. But I’m sick to my stomach right now.
Tom Gage/Detroit News

In general, a MLB starting pitcher will not come off a bad game and freely admit to the media that he is ‘sick to his stomach’ over it, even if that is what he’s actually feeling. But this is Phil Coke. He has Nervousness and A Lot of Feelings and he’s not afraid to talk about them, and make bloggers all concerned that he’s not getting enough hugs. SERIOUSLY GUYS SOMEONE NEEDS TO JUST GIVE PHIL COKE A HUG AFTER HIS STARTS.

Where is Paws in all of this? If the other Tigers are falling down on the hug-job here, surely this is where Paws can pick up the slack, right?

Sigh.

The positives for this game: Rhino homered, Jhonny hhomered, Andy Dirks homered, and Miguel Cabrera hit two home runs all by his lonesome, because Miguel Cabrera is better at hitting a baseball than many a cat.

There were about a zillion stolen bases by the Mets, which is not a good thing, but it was Victor Martinez catching, so the positive is the fact that Alex Avila remains unsullied.

Also, Don Kelly pitched.

Yeah. That happened.

He faced one batter– Scott Hairston– and got him out to end the top of the 9th. He threw five pitches: two for balls, one called strike, one foul, and then the final pitch, which was lofted to Austin Jackson in center for the out. He hit a flaming 86 mph on the radar gun and that last pitch was a curveball, or something. It was in any event a breaking ball, which startled the heck out of Hairston and amused everyone else observing the game at the time.

Don Kelly can play at any position, and mostly has so far this season, except for catcher… and he’s the emergency backup catcher, so we may well see him there before the year is done. He already warms up the pitcher between innings for Avila sometimes (hilarious to see).


photo by Samara Pearlstein, from this season

The last inning, which featured DJ Carrasco’s impeccable stirrup socks, and of course the pitching Don Kelly, was thus by far the most enjoyable inning of the game. Even including the Tigers offensive outputs, since those were quickly negated in enjoyability when Tigers pitching promptly failed to hold the Mets back following a bunch of runs scored. But high socks and position players pitching are forever.

What did we learn from this game? I don’t know. Life sucks and then Don Kelly pitches. Also, Rod and Mario do NOT properly respect the noble food that is the garlic fry. They were discussing them at various points throughout the game, and talking about how you only need to eat a few and then you’re done, and so on. BLASPHEMY.

ETA: Coke has been moved to the bullpen. Charlie Furbush will take his place in the rotation, at least for now. And if you missed it last night, Daniel Schlereth was sent to the feathery embrace of Muddy– Brayan Villarreal is up for him.

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12 responses to “downing Coke, and the pitching of Don Kelly

  1. I think Roar of the Tigers needs to give Phil Coke a Terrible Cartoon hug. Hint hint.

    I’ve said this on Twitter and on MTS a bit, but I’m starting to wonder if Coke’s mentality is suited for starting. Seems like he might benefit from a move back to the ‘pen, where he can’t spend four days thinking about how horrible he was and beat himself up for it.

    Also sounds like he might be ready to go back to the ‘pen. Someone asked him if he had thought about going back to relieving, even if it was just temporary, and he didn’t say no or skirt the question. He said he was basically at the team’s disposal, to do with as they pleased. On one hand, it was a classy response to a question a player really isn’t in position to properly answer. On the other hand, it seemed like a kind of sad response, like he’d run out of answers and was open to anything at this point.

    I need to stop overanalyzing post-game interviews.

    HUGZ FOR PHIL COKE.

    • I feel like, if they’ve been talking about maybe moving him back to the ‘pen behind closed doors, all he really can say is that he’ll do whatever the team needs him to do, you know?

      • Well, not every player will have that kind of reaction. I mean, Inge, who has long been hailed as a team player, ******* in ’04 and ’08 over being shuffled to new positions, for example.

        • Ha ha, ok… I see what you mean there. But it seems different for marginal pitchers (and a #5 guy is never that far away from the bullpen) versus moving fielders around. I mean, catcher and third base are damn different positions, asking a guy to play one instead of the other is asking a lot more (imo) than asking a #5 pitcher to move to the bullpen.

          I don’t know, I feel like Coke ‘knows his place’ on the team and would never try to act ‘above’ it… bad way to put it but you know what I mean… anyways maybe that’s part of him getting so down on himself so easily. SAD.FACE.

  2. Don Kelly pitching was absolutely the highlight. I thought nothing could beat two Miggy HRs in the same game, but I was oh so wrong.

  3. The problem with putting Coke back in the bullpen is who do we put in the rotation to replace him? Don Kelly?

    • They’ve just done it and apparently the answer is Furbush.
      On the one hand, more Furbush cartoons!
      On the other hand, no more Furbuerquerque.

  4. I always wondered what we thought we were doing, taking one of our most reliable guys from the pen last year making him into a starter. Why mess with things?

    Actually, I didn’t think anything could be funnier than Leyland going after that ump the other night. I was wrong. Don Kelly pitching is funny AND effective! (Hey, he’s got the lowest ERA on the team right now, doesn’t he?)

  5. I still can’t believe don kelly pitched on a night I was not home to watch it. thank god for mlb.tv archives. I am still in shock and amazement.

  6. So disappointed! Rod confessed on the air that he did not actually go surfing w/BB – it was all just a big story. See if I ever believe anything he says again.

  7. kelly does it all man and start JV every 4th day jimmy and dommbroski why pudge

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