ALCS 2012: Jose Valverde Should Only Pitch to A-Rod

10/14/12 in MLB   |   This_is_Rick   |   265 respect

One major question came from Detroit's epic, almost blown, win last night in the Bronx: Are the Yankees that clutch in the ninth inning, or is Jose Valverde that bad?
Oct 10, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Jose Valverde (46) pitches the ball against the Oakland Athletics during the ninth inning of game four of the 2012 ALDS at O.co Coliseum. The Oakland Athletics defeated the Detroit Tigers 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Don't let the win fool you, the Tigers' and Jim Leyland were definitely taking long strolls through Central Park this morning, pondering their closing situation, perhaps even looking for a shirtless A-Rod sunning himself on a rock, again. Regardless, the Tigers' know they are in trouble, realizing that great starting pitching means nothing if the bullpen can not complete games. 

The MLB a trendy league, most of the time, and the case with Valverde is no different. After blowing two saves this post season, nearly costing the Tigers an ALDS Series win and Game 1 in the ALCS, the reasons to skip the 34-year-old in later innings makes perfect sense—two games is evidence enough to show a trend.

It's not as though Valverde has been a shutdown-pitcher in his playoff appearances, previously. He has played in six series over three years, earning a disastrous 8.79 ERA in that time—the 54.00 he has in this ALCS doesn't help—and allowing 16 hits in 14.1 innings pitched.

In the short summation: He is awful.

Valverde did an excellent job as closer during the regular season, only blowing five saves, completing the job he was asked to do—and get paid to do—88 percent of the time. However, again and again, this is not the regular season; sometimes pitchers don't have the stuff, from the release point or in the head, to be a solid postseason pitcher—and Valverde is just that, for the time being.
Oct 13, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees player Raul Ibanez (middle) celebrates with teammates Eric Chavez (12) and Mark Teixeira (right) after hitting a two-run home run against the Detroit Tigers in the 9th inning during game one of the 2012 ALCS at Yankee Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Whether he is tipping his pitches or his interesting delivery is causing the ball to flatten out, something is not working, clearly, and the Tigers need to realize it. Yes, they won the game, taking one from a difficult team and environment, but that's not a trend Leyland wants to follow.

The Yankees still have not found their collective swing, except for Ibanez, and it's Detroit's time to strike and finish—as I have said, the Yankees can not rely on Ibanez, solely.

Now, it's at the Tigers discretion not to rely on Valverde, unless they just want to pitch him against Rodriguez—assuming Alex ever pays, again.


This_is_Rick

 
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10/15/12   |   MortonsLaw   |   156 respect

At least someone finally wrote about this. I had no time to write last night due to work, but I was blown away that Leyland even used him in that situation. Closers tend in struggle in non-save situations. Even the greatest of all-time, Mariano Rivera, has been known to lose games coming into situations where a save isn't  a possibility. It's a different mentality.

After watching Valverde blow up in Game 4 of the ALDS, I would've waited to hand him the ball until it was either a save situation or at home. I know you would like to believe he would be ok with a 4-run lead. Leyland escaped disaster there, and was smart enough to announce Valverde was not the closer Sunday.

10/14/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Look at the numbers of teams holding leads in the 9th. 88 percent is not impressive.