BOSTON -- It was hardly a season to remember for lefthanded reliever Phil Coke. The former Yankee, part of the three-team trade that brought Curtis Granderson to the Yankees before the 2010 season, appeared in 49 games, posted a 5.40 ERA and was demoted to Triple-A Toledo in August.
He was left off the ALDS roster because of elbow problems but was added to the ALCS roster primarily because of his success against one player: David Ortiz. He is 2-for-18 with one walk and four strikeouts against Coke.
Ortiz tortured the Rays in the Division Series, going 5-for-13 with two homers. He walked five times, contributing to a .556 OBP.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland, however, downplayed a general question about how big an impact the bullpens will play in this series.
"I think this will be a starting pitching series," Leyland said. "If our starters aren't good, we're not going to win this series, and probably the same for them."
Room for RossRed Sox manager John Farrell likes to play backup catcher David Ross against lefty starters and/or in day games after night games. The Tigers don't have any lefthanded starters and the schedule doesn't call for an early day game after a night game. Nevertheless, Ross started ALCS Game 1 because Farrell liked the way he worked with Jon Lester in early September.
"The strength of this team has been the depth of its roster," Farrell said. "There are going to be some matchups that we think are more favorable in one case or another. And we've had the utmost -- we've had complete confidence in every guy in our uniform. And they're going to be involved."
One that got awayThe Yankees were among outfielder Torii Hunter's most ardent pursuers last offseason, losing out when the veteran insisted on a second year. Hunter, 38, ended up signing with the Tigers for two years and $26 million and had a good season, hitting .304 with a .334 OBP, 17 homers and 84 RBIs in 144 games.
"We got exactly what we thought we were going to get," Leyland said. "He's done a terrific job. And I think this time of year, a lot of the veteran players [feel] a little older. [But] they get a new life, it's a new breath of fresh air. And I'm sure that's the way Torii is feeling right now."