Todd Jones Removed From Ninth-Inning Duties

Austin DrakeSenior Analyst IJuly 27, 2008

And all the Tiger fans breathe a sigh of relief...for now.

After a painful season for the former closer Todd Jones, and Detroit Tiger fans, Jim Leyland announced on Sunday (July 27) that Fernando Rodney will be the closer for the time being. Jones was nixed after he gave up a two-run homer to Jermaine Dye in the ninth inning on Friday (July 25), which won the game for Chicago.

Tigers' manager, Jim Leyland, also said that Joel Zumaya will get some chances to finish off games for Detroit. But I am doubtful of that. Zumaya has struggled over his last few outings, and he suffered an injured bicep versus the White Sox.

Todd Jones started 14 of 14 in save opportunities, but since then he is 4-7 in opportunities, while giving up nine earned runs over that span.

Jones has a huge ERA of 4.99 this season, and has given up 22 earned runs in 39.2 innings pitched, as well as walking more than he has struck out. As the Tigers' announcers said, "Even when Jones has his best stuff, teams still can muster walks and hits against him...."

Fernando Rodney began this season on the disabled list, and he did not return until June 16. Rodney has a 5.17 ERA this year, but has struck out 15 in 15.2 innings of work so far. Rodney is getting the closer nod because he has located his fastball better than any other Tiger pitcher recently.

In his first appearance as the closer, Rodney pitched 1.2 innings while striking out three and giving up one run. Fernando hit upper 90s in his work versus the White Sox, a big difference from Jones' upper 80s.

With the trade deadline near, the Tigers' front office could look to trade for Baltimore's closer, George Sherrill, or Colorado's closer, Brian Fuentes.

So for now, Tigers fans will not have to fear the ninth inning, or even a big lead late in the game.