Right-handers are giving Coke fits this year

Right-handers are giving Coke fits this year

DETROIT -- Statistics can be deceptive for relievers, especially numbers like ERA and WHIP, which are more accurate measurements for starters. In the case of Phil Coke and right-handed hitters, however, manager Jim Leyland isn't disputing the stats.

"He hasn't gotten right-handers out very much at all this year," Leyland said Wednesday. "That's not me saying that. That's what the numbers tell. The numbers are what they are."

When Moises Sierra lined a pinch-hit single up the middle in the eighth inning Tuesday night, it raised the batting average for right-handed hitters against Coke to .400 (38-for-95). Add in eight walks, and they have a .442 on-base percentage against him.

The pitch selection isn't all that different for him against right-handers this year compared to his past two seasons in Detroit, according to STATS. The only trend is that he's throwing more breaking balls to righties than he did the previous two seasons. But he's throwing more sliders to all hitters, and his batting average has risen for all his pitches.

Opponents are batting .451 against Coke's fastball, according to STATS, up from .365 last year. Likewise, they're hitting his slider for a .210 average compared to .145 last year. However, hitters are swinging and missing at the slider at a slightly higher rate than last year.