Oct 7, 2011, 12:53 AM EDT
Tigers closer Jose Valverde converted 49-of-49 save opportunities during the 2011 regular season.
At times those saves were pretty, others times they weren’t. On Thursday night at Yankee Stadium, the American League Central champions just wanted results. And Valverde once again came through.
The seemingly possessed right-hander induced a weak flyout to left field from Curtis Granderson, shattered Robinson Cano‘s bat on a soft lineout to center, then got Alex Rodriguez with an emphatic punchout to end the ninth inning and wrap up the ALDS. He needed only 11 pitches to make it through the perfect frame, seven of which went for strikes. It was his 51st successfully converted save of the 2011 season.
But Valverde wasn’t the Tigers’ only standout pitcher in Thursday’s 3-2 Game 5 triumph.
Doug Fister started things off with five innings of one-run ball, scattering five hits while striking out four Yankees hitters. Game 2 victor Max Scherzer then came on in relief, earning a hard-fought hold. Joaquin Benoit followed with a scoreless 1 2/3 frames before manager Jim Leyland turned things over to Valverde.
It’s not all about Justin Verlander. Detroit’s pitching staff is deep and — more importantly — producing.
The Tigers will open their ALCS matchup with the Rangers on Saturday. We’ll have it covered here at HBT.
- And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights 36
- Rangers snap Astros’ 10-game winning streak 6
- UPDATE: Hanley Ramirez exits game with a left shoulder sprain 25
- Nelson Cruz, Adrian Gonzalez named Players of the Month 18
- And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights 94
- Report: Brewers hire Craig Counsell to replace Ron Roenicke 26
- Brewers fire manager Ron Roenicke 55
- Jordan Walden lands on disabled list with biceps injury 11
- Torii Hunter doesn’t care what Floyd Mayweather has done outside of the boxing ring (140)
- The Orioles will play to no fans tomorrow; this weekend’s series will move to Tropicana Field (125)
- Buck Showalter had some wise words about what’s happening in Baltimore (123)
- And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights (120)
- Some anti-DH counterpoints (102)