Tigers intentionally walk Jeff Francoeur in 10th, lose 8-3 to Royals

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It wasn’t the worst call of Jim Leyland’s life. It may not have even been the worst call he made today. But  Leyland opened the floodgates for a five-run 10th inning when he intentionally walked Jeff Francoeur in the 10th inning Thursday against the Royals. It was a 3-3 game at the time, but the Tigers went on to lose 8-3 after an Alex Gordon grand slam in the inning.

Francouer was walked by left-hander Phil Coke with one out and runners on second and third after a wild pitch. Coke had already walked a left-handed batter in the inning in Mike Moustakas and he went on to walk George Kottaras after the IBB, giving the Royals a one-run lead. Fellow lefty Darin Downs took over from there, and after getting a grounder to second that led to a forceout at home, he surrendered the slam to Gordon.

In truth, walking Francoeur there was a move a bunch of managers in Leyland’s position would have made. Francoeur has always hit lefties quite well. Even as lousy as he has been this season, he entered the day 7-for-18 against lefties, good for a .389 average. And on deck was a rusty left-handed hitting catcher with a career .194 average against lefties (Kottaras, who had taken over for Salvador Perez in the game, had just five plate appearances despite spending the whole season to date on the Royals’ roster). Coke’s entire reason for being is to retire left-handed batters, and if he could have gotten Kottaras for the second out, he had another set to hit in Chris Getz.

But this wasn’t Coke’s day. It is something that Leyland might have figured out during the walk to Moustakas, but if he was going to leave Coke in and not turn to a right-hander, then walking Francoeur was justified. Frankly, if I were going to blast Leyland about anything today, it’d be about giving yet another start to .118-hitting Don Kelly in left field.

Reds to interview John Farrell

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MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports that the Reds will interview John Farrell as the club attempts to find a full-time manager. Dick Williams, the Reds’ president of baseball operations, has already interviewed Pat Kelly, Billy Hatcher, and Freddie Benavides. Interim manager Jim Riggleman will be interviewed after the season. Williams clarified that Barry Larkin is not a candidate. Per C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic, Williams hopes to have a new manager in place by the end of October.

The Reds got off to an abysmal 3-15 start, prompting the organization to fire Bryan Price. Riggleman took over in his place and the team seemed to respond, playing .500 ball under his leadership through the end of June. The club eventually fell back to earth, going 9-19 in August and is currently 9-13 in September.

Farrell, 56, managed the Blue Jays for two seasons in 2011-12, then took over at the helm of the Red Sox between 2013-17. The Red Sox won the World Series in 2013 and made the playoffs in three of his five seasons in Boston.