May 14, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Drew Smyly (33) makes a throw against the Chicago White Sox in the first inning at US Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE

Woo Ooohhh.....That Smell

Can’t you smell that smell? The smell of death surrounds you….

I have no idea if Jim Leyland is a Skynyrd fan or not, though I wouldn’t mind seeing him pull that lighter out, throw it in they air…yelling, “Freebird!” while outside at DTE Music Theatre.

Ahh…Jim Leyland. You have a way with words. So much so, you brought me back in time when a good female friend of mine joked about Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “That Smell” being our wedding song. While she had a sense of humor, there isn’t much hilarity going on in the Tigers clubhouse these days, and Jim Leyland can’t be having fun. In fact, when one hears about Jim Leyland talking about something smelling funny, you would assume that he was talking about the Tigers offense. Today, he was talking about his starting pitcher Drew Smyly, or more specifically, the contact that the White Sox were making off of his starter.

May 14, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Drew Smyly (33) makes a throw against the Chicago White Sox in the first inning at US Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE

For reference sake, James Schmehl (Schmehl? It’s destiny he covered this) of MLive covered Leyland’s comments in an article here. I kid James, I like the work you do.

To summarize this evening’s loss, Drew Smyly, who has been excellent this season, was pulled after just 69 pitches against the White Sox with a 5-4 lead. As we know, leads haven’t been safe in Detroit this year when being held by just about any pitcher not named Duane Below in that bullpen. It was a little surprising to see Smyly pulled after the 5th inning. Leyland explained that he didn’t like what he was seeing, and not just what he saw, apparently the fly balls the White Sox hit were tickling his olfactory sense as well.

It does stink giving up two monster bombs by both Adam Dunn and DayanViciedo, but it seemed that things were going rather smooth for Smyly otherwise. I am sure it looked strange to Leyland considering that Drew Smyly had only given up 2 runs one time, and one run every other start so far this season.

What might be more strange is the desire to turn the game over to a pen that has been terrible so far in 2012.

I’m not going to second guess Leyland’s choice of Luke Putkonen. I won’t have to. I am sure the internet and forum world is already blowing up with Leyland’s supposed inability to manage a bullpen. I will say this sofa, or armchair managers, Luke Putkonen is a major league pitcher (on the roster anyway), and he needs to do his job just like anyone else. Leyland’s explanation of why he chose Putkonen makes sense. Luke just made him look bad by quickly relinquishing the lead.

The only thing I question about Leyland’s sense of smell is pulling the young man (Smyly) when he still had plenty of “gas” left in the tank. Smyly had only given up 5 hits on the night, and walked only one. His catcher, Gerald Laird, didn’t notice a drop-off in the quality of his stuff.

Some things work I guess, and some things don’t. Leyland obviously is smelling something funny here, as are many of us, so his nose isn’t the problem. It might just be that he is a little confused where it is coming from. I don’t think it’s the fly balls that were emitting some unpleasant odor. I’m not a scientist, but I would think baseball’s are relatively odor free. It’s the overall play of a pretty expensive baseball team that offends the senses.

I would only say this to Jim Leyland. If you think something smells, maybe it’s time to light a match…


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Tags: Adam Dunn Detroit Tigers Drew Smyly Duane Below Luke Putkonen

  • ChrisHannum

    I haven’t seen anything yet to suggest that Luke Putkonen is capable of getting major league hitters out – and I’d go so far as to say that the jury is still out on whether he can get minor league hitters out.

    • MCBjohnverburg

       @ChrisHannum Me either, but if Leyland has him, he is going to use him once in a while. Balester isn’t much better in my opinion. Hindsight is 20/20, so I guess we could all say Below was the better option. Again though, the curious thing to me was Smyly not getting the 6th inning.

      • ChrisHannum

         @MCBjohnverburg In retrospect, I’d definitely say that the right guy to go to was Dotel.  Putkonen and Balester have no business pitching with small leads, regardless what inning it happens to be.  And if the other five guys can’t make it through four innings on their own…