No rest for weary Avilas, plus Phil Coke, Emergency Closer.


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

1: It’s huge to get the win from a David Price start. He’s no Justin Verlander (then again, nobody is), but he can be really, really good, and sneaking a Tigers win off of him is an essentially unexpected bonus in this series.

2: ALEX AVILA TAKES A BALL OFF THE NECK, STARTS THE NEXT GAME, NO BIG DEAL. No rest for Alex Avila ever. EVER. Alex Avila scoffs in the face of totally irresponsible player abuse. Alex Avila denies his mortal nature, not because he feels he is above other men or because he believes he is somehow invincible, but because Jim Leyland asks him to do this and Alex Avila gives 110% when his coach asks. Even when that 110% is 110% of his good health and future soundness of body. Alex Avila plays as if he is made of solid metal. ALEX AVILA IS IRON MAN.

3: Here’s something creepy. I actually drew Iron Man Avila yesterday, and colored it during the game today. After the game I went to the Mothership to look at the box score, and what did I see? An article with this headline.

GET OUT OF MY HEAD, JASON BECK.

4: Iron Man totally would not give 110% if his high school baseball coach asked him to, but we are ignoring that. Also, Tony Stark totally did not play high school baseball. ANYWAYS.

5: Phil Coke, pitching Helper Monkey. Phil Coke, Emergency Closer. Phil Coke, Dude With a Save.


photo by Samara Pearlstein

With Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde both unavailable, the Tigers were hoping to see a blowout-type game with no stressful late inning pitching situations (ha!), or a complete game masterpiece from Brad Penny (hahaHAHAHAHAHAHAhahahahaha!). So of course they ended up with a one run game in the late innings and all kinds of stress.

Phil Coke came in to pitch the 8th. Working around a double and an intentional walk, he struck out the side. Lacking any other real options, Leyland let him come out for the 9th. Things got Tense (Rays on second and third) but Coke set aside his concerns and got the job done like a boss. A boss of pitching.

6: In his postgame interview, Phil Coke refused to say anything about his personal accomplishments on the mound. In fact, he was so adamantly against this subject that when Ryan Field brought it up, Coke stuck his fingers in his ears and started saying, “LALALALALA” loudly. It was a special moment.

7: Why do I laugh so hard when Alex Avila hits a double off of Kyle Farnsworth? Why is that so freaking funny?

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13 responses to “No rest for weary Avilas, plus Phil Coke, Emergency Closer.

  1. Because The Farns will always be LOL.

  2. i love avila’s iron man beard

  3. 1. Awesome Iron Man
    2. I will always hate the Farns
    3. Penny acually did something and it wasn’t a fart on the bench
    4. Coco got a save! barely
    5. Tigers Win!

  4. Of course, poor Phil wouldn’t have had to be in that situation if they hadn’t pitched Papa Grande in a non-save situation on Monday! (Yeah, yeah, I know they say he was already warming up when Donnie hit that home run that put us beyond the save range… but still.)

  5. ivantopumpyouup

    All you saves are belong to Phil Coke

  6. IF I HADN’T SEEN HIM IN THE VIDEO I WOULDN’T HAVE BELIEVED IT. LOL at Phil Coke. I love that guy.

  7. Here’s what Avila’s up against: According to Baseball Reference.com, the modern record for effort in a 9-inning game is 113.2% by David Eckstein in Game 1 of the 2005 NLCS. Dustin Pedroia holds the season record for giving 108.2% in 2008, with 38 scrappy performances, a .744 grit-per-inch rating, 301 plate battles, and an astounding 196 games in a row in which he gave it his all or more (plus 12 more in which he gave at least the old college try). Ty Cobb, as you probably guessed, holds pretty much every career record, by nature of playing at a time when players literally breathed grit instead of oxygen every day.

  8. Clarification: the 100% effort or more record was a carryover from 2007. He passed Cal Ripken’s old record of 185 in August and finished in September.

    • The problem with these stats is that so many of them are situational. There are teams where it’s easy to be scrappy and inflate your grit rating, and there are teams where it’s difficult. The Minnesota Twins: super easy to think everyone’s Gritty McScrapface over there, but as soon as they leave the team, their numbers plummet. No real mystery as to why, it’s the Gardenhire effect.

      You have to take the grit with a grain of salt, that’s all I’m saying. Someone needs to work up some finer-grained grit stats or we’re only going to get a vague picture of the scrapscape.

      • Leave it to the sabermaticians. They’ve got a stat called P.L.U.C.K. which accounts for varying amounts of infield dirt, and also factors in comparisons to Eckstein by local columnists versus the number of printed aw shucks quotes in a season. However P.L.U.C.K. rating is not generally accepted by old timers because it’s kind of complicated, and not every guy who’s shown to be statically scrappy is white.

  9. I would pay full price to see an Iron Avila movie. Or at least a FSD commercial.

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