The Tigers need a key out in the late innings. Who should they call on?

If the batter is right-handed, the answer's as easy as ABC: Anyone but Coke.

That would be Phil Coke, who excels at getting out left-handed hitters but who struggles against right-handers.

During the first week of the season, we saw why he would not make a good closer.

The Tigers suffered their first blown save in just their second game Wednesday when back-to-back batters hitting right handed — the latter the switch-hitting Eduardo Escobar — recorded hits. Escobar is a career .357 batter against lefty pitchers like Coke.

Sunday Coke faced two more right-handed batters — this time in the seventh inning. Results were no different: another single and double allowed.

Coke certainly will get a few right-handed batters out during the course of the season — maybe even a few in close-and-late situations. But the point is Coke should not be put in that position in the first place. It's nothing more than setting him up to fail.

Coke should properly be considered a lefty specialist — or LOOGY (lefty one-out guy) in baseball parlance. Given repeated opportunities to prove otherwise in his career, the 30-year-old Coke has done little to build a case.

His OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging average) against right-handed batters has steadily risen from .713 in 2009 with the Yankees to 1.050 in 2012 with the Tigers.

To put that into perspective, the highest Miguel Cabrera's OPS has ever been in a year is 1.042 in 2010.