Jim Leyland planned to rest Phil Coke last night, which may have opened the door for Jose Valverde to close out a series-ending win for the Tigers, but instead the game was rained out and now Coke is available for today’s Game 4.
However, when asked who he’ll turn to if the Tigers have a ninth-inning lead to protect Leyland said only that “everyone is available today” and “we’ll play it by ear.”
That could mean a lot of things, including a matchup-based closer-by-committee situation, but one thing it seemingly doesn’t mean is that Jose Valverde has regained the job he held for the past three seasons while converting 110 saves.
The Tigers are expected to hire Ron Gardenhire as the team’s new manager upon completion of a contract, per Ken Rosenthal and Katie Strang of The Athletic. Gardenhire, 59, spent the 2017 season serving as the bench coach for the Diamondbacks.
Gardenhire managed the Twins for 13 seasons between 2002-14, amassing a 1,068-1,039 (.507) record in the regular season and reaching the playoffs six times.
According to Strang and Rosenthal, Gardenhire was one of 10 candidates to interview with the Tigers. Others included Alex Cora, Mike Redmond, Fredi Gonzalez, Joe McEwing, Hensley Meulens, Dave Clark, and Omar Vizquel. Apparently, GM Al Avila wanted a manager with previous major league managing experience.
The Tigers parted ways with previous manager Brad Ausmus at the end of the 2017 regular season, his fourth year at the helm.