Jim Leyland on Tigers’ closer situation: “Just going to play it by ear, see what happens”

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After pitching in a simulated game over the weekend Jose Valverde told reporters that he corrected a mechanical flaw responsible for his postseason struggles, but when asked if Valverde will resume closing in the World Series manager Jim Leyland was non-committal.

Leyland used the same phrasing he repeatedly uttered during the ALCS, saying the Tigers are “just going to play it by ear, see what happens” in the ninth inning, leading Jason Beck of MLB.com to conclude that it will be closer-by-committee based on matchups.

Left-hander Phil Coke emerged as the Tigers’ closer during the ALCS, finishing the final three games of the series, but the Yankees’ lineup being filled with left-handed hitters played a big role in that and the only lefty bats in the Giants’ lineup are Brandon Belt, Gregor Blanco, and Brandon Crawford.

In other words, if Leyland truly manages the ninth inning based on matchups Coke is unlikely to be the top choice. If instead Leyland has completely soured on Valverde and now trusts Coke to get the final three outs the Giants’ right-handed hitters will have some favorable matchups with the game on the line late. Righties hit .396 off Coke during the regular season, so even if Valverde remains out of the mix–he hasn’t pitched since October 13–Joaquin Benoit and Octavio Dotel could play a big role.

The Royals traveled to Boston to play for 12 minutes

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The Kansas City Royals lost to the Baltimore Orioles last night. After the game they flew to Boston to play the Red Sox. They played for 12 whole minutes this afternoon, lost, and are now on their way to Cleveland to take on the Indians tomorrow. For their part the Red Sox are now heading to the airport to fly out to San Diego for a game against the Padres tomorrow.

All of this was the result of a suspended game on August 7, which was halted as the Royals and Red Sox were tied 4-4 in the top of the 10th inning. It was resumed, and concluded quite quickly, this afternoon.

When the game was suspended, Josh Taylor had just come on to pitch for Boston and Royals catcher Meibrys Viloria was ahead in the count to 2-1. It resumed at 1:05pm. Nick Dini pinch-hit for Viloria and lined out and the next two Royals batters went down in order as well.

In the bottom of the 10th Andrew Benintendi struck out, Christian Vázquez doubled, Chris Owings pinch ran for him, Sam Travis was intentionally walked and then Brock Holt singled in Owings. Game over, with the proceedings ending at 1:17 PM.

Not that it was a waste of everyone’s time. The Red Sox wisely made a fun day out of it by allowing anyone who is 18 or under to attend the game for free. All others were allowed to enter for a $5 donation to the Jimmy Fund. Concessions were dirt cheap, with sodas and hot dogs going for a buck or so. Kids were allowed to run the bases afterward and they kept the concession stands open for a good long while.

The reporters and some fans on the scene were tweeting about how great an atmosphere it was so, hey, not too bad.