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May 29, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joe Nathan (36) reacts during the ninth inning against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum. The Tigers defeated the Athletics 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Tigers Links: Joe Nathan being a curmudgeon, M's and old friend McClendon up next & Phil Coke is "not our issue"

 Tigers closer Joe Nathan shouldn’t have been pointing fingers – Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press

Joe Nathan didn’t want to talk.

“Write whatever you want,” he said.

His frustration was understandable. He had just gotten knocked around for the second consecutive ninth inning late Thursday afternoon at O.co Coliseum and he knows, at 39, that questions about whether he’s beginning a decline are coming. More likely is that Nathan was taken aback by the reaction to his postgame comments Wednesday night, when he kept referring to the catch Nick Castellanos didn’t make, and how that missed catch hurt his chances for the save.

He was right, of course. But wrong to suggest it publically. Baseball is a brutally tough game. Failure is everywhere. If players pointed fingers for that failure, no team would hold together.

It’s very disappointing to see Nathan pointing fingers and calling out teammates, and a rookie no less. Even if Castellanos had made the catch, he wouldn’t have been able to double-up Coco Crisp who was staying close to second (and was the reason he did not score the tying run on the hit). I can understand his frustration yesterday after nearly blowing yet another game and it was likely because he couldn’t blame anyone else for his general awfulness.

If there is one thing that will turn Detroit fans against you in a heartbeat is calling out a teammate. When Steve Mariucchi was fired by the Detroit Lions in 2005, cornerback Dre Bly blamed quarterback Joey Harrington and his shaky play for the termination. Old Joey BlueSkies was not, and still is not, a popular figure in this town, but for a short period he was a sympathetic figure. Nathan had better tread lightly in the future.

 

On deck: Detroit Tigers to continue West Coast trip with series against Lloyd McClendon-led Mariners – Chris Iott, MLive

The Mariners are playing .500 ball this season under new manager Lloyd McClendon, the former Tigers hitting coach, and are one of just five teams in the American League with a positive run differential. After finishing 20 games under .500 in 2013, the Mariners have the look of a team that could contend for a wild-card spot.

It’s always fun to see a former coach or manager going up against his former team. Will Lloyd give his pitchers the keys to beating Tigers’ batters since he served as the hitting coach as recently as last year? Additionally, while McClendon was rumored as a strong candidate to replace Jim Leyland last fall, he never seemed to be seriously considered by the front-office. McClendon is a fiery guy, so you gotta think that will be in the back of his mind this weekend.

 

Detroit Tigers’ Dave Dombrowski addresses recent slump, says Phil Coke ‘is not our issue’ – Brian Manzullo, Free Press

Phil Coke is not our issue at this point,” Dombrowski told Kaminski. “I think people have a tendency to jump on situations and focus on individuals, and that’s pretty much the way it goes nowadays. But Phil Coke has had some struggles where he struggled early, but lately he has done a pretty good job for us. He has settled into a longer role, throws the ball hard. We will just wait and see what happens.”

Phil Coke may not be their issue, but he’s one of the issues. The Tigers dedication to this guy–who is by all accounts a great guy and wonderful teammate, but just can’t pitch effectively–is mind-boggling.

Tags: Detroit Tigers Joe Nathan Lloyd McClendon Morning Links Phil Coke

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