Skip to content

The Tigers can’t turn back to Jose Valverde now

Oct 11, 2012, 1:27 AM EST

Jose Valverde Getty Images

The A’s had four hits in eight innings Wednesday and then doubled their total in the ninth. Pouncing all over Jose Valverde with their season down to its last three outs, the A’s scored three runs to beat the Tigers.

In so doing, the A’s left Jim Leyland with a major dilemma: who does he call on if he has a lead in the ninth in Thursday’s Game 5?

Valverde hasn’t had his good splitter at any point in the season. He was rather successful anyway, converting 35 of 40 save chances. However, his strikeout rate took a big dive and was easily the lowest of his career. As a result, his batting average against, while still quite good at .229, was the highest mark of his career.

That Valverde remained as decent as he was in 2012 can largely be attributed to the deception in his delivery. His unique motion and release makes him pretty tough to pick up. And if he doesn’t like the matchup, he’s not afraid to work around a tough lefty to get to a righty he thinks he can handle.

But repetition isn’t Valverde’s friend at this point. The A’s saw him in September and hit him. They’ve now seen him twice in a week. If they get him yet again in Game 5, it’d be no surprise to see things again get ugly in a hurry.

Maybe Justin Verlander will make it moot. No starter in the postseason is more capable of getting 27 outs all by himself. If Verlander does need to leave after seven or eight with a lead, then the A’s may need to try mixing and matching righties Al Alburquerque and Octavio Dotel and lefty Phil Coke in the ninth. Alburquerque is the Tigers’ best reliever right now, but he’s never faced the kind of pressure he would Thursday. He also hasn’t really been tested on back-to-back days since returning from an elbow injury.

As for Joaquin Benoit, who would have been the fallback a week ago, he’s allowed runs in four of his last six appearances, and tonight may well have made it five if Brandon Moss hadn’t gotten himself out with two men on in the eighth. He could always pitch the eighth again, but he scarcely seems like a better bet than Valverde at the moment.

If Leyland does go back to Valverde in the ninth inning Thursday, it’d be sheer stubbornness. There’s no place left for that with the season on the line.

Latest Posts
  1. Max Scherzer thanks Tigers fans with full-page goodbye in Sunday’s Detroit Free Press

    Jan 25, 2015, 2:58 PM EST

    1ad

    A nice gesture here from Max Scherzer, who signed a $210 million deal Monday with the Nationals …

  2. Blue Jays cut off talks for Orioles executive Dan Duquette

    Jan 25, 2015, 1:33 PM EST

    showalter duquette getty Getty Images

    Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports that the Blue Jays have ended their pursuit of Orioles executive Dan Duquette because Baltimore asked for 2014 first-round pick Jeff Hoffman and two other prospects in return.

  3. Rob Manfred, new Major League Baseball commissioner, suggests ban on defensive shifts

    Jan 25, 2015, 12:05 PM EST

    manfred getty Getty Images

    Rob Manfred has officially been reigned in as the new commissioner of Major League Baseball and he said something controversial in a sit-down interview this weekend with ESPN’s Karl Ravech …

  4. Yankees reject A-Rod’s apology attempt

    Jan 25, 2015, 11:02 AM EST

    alex rodriguez head Getty Images

    Another New York Daily News source added that A-Rod is looking “noticeably thinner and massless,” so you get the sense these bits of information — however truthful — definitely aren’t coming from his camp.

  5. Video: Ernie Banks remembered

    Jan 25, 2015, 9:39 AM EST

    ernie banks getty Getty Images

    MLB Network looks back on the career of Ernie Banks, who died Friday at the age of 83 …

  6. Tommy Milone had a benign tumor removed from his neck

    Jan 24, 2015, 10:40 PM EST

    Tommy Milone Tommy Milone

    Tommy Milone underwent neck surgery in December to remove a benign tumor, but he was able to resume throwing just over two weeks later.

  7. Twins GM Terry Ryan could see Byron Buxton debuting in 2015

    Jan 24, 2015, 9:35 PM EST

    Byron Buxton Getty Images

    Top prospect Byron Buxton could be wearing a Twins uniform in the major leagues at some point this season according to GM Terry Ryan.

  8. Tigers, Al Alburquerque avoid arbitration with a one-year deal

    Jan 24, 2015, 8:30 PM EST

    Al Alburquerque AP

    The Tigers and reliever Al Alburquerque avoided arbitration with a one-year deal on Saturday.

  9. Proposed Jonathan Papelbon trade to Brewers is “on life support”

    Jan 24, 2015, 7:25 PM EST

    Jonathan Papelbon Jonathan Papelbon

    A Jonathan Papelbon trade to the Brewers may not be happening after all.

  10. Mariners considering bringing back Franklin Gutierrez

    Jan 24, 2015, 6:20 PM EST

    Franklin Gutierrez Getty Images

    Franklin Gutierrez could make a return to the Mariners. The 31-year-old outfielder has had trouble staying healthy over the last few years.

  11. Twins and Brian Duensing agree to one-year deal to avoid arbitration

    Jan 24, 2015, 5:28 PM EST

    Brian Duensing Getty Getty Images

    Duensing he has been useful and durable as a middle reliever over the past two seasons, posting a 3.67 ERA (110 ERA+) in 115 1/3 innings over 135 appearances.

  12. Report: Brandon Beachy has decided on a team

    Jan 24, 2015, 4:53 PM EST

    Brandon Beachy AP

    Beachy is currently making his way back from his second Tommy John surgery.

  13. Report: More than 200 scouts attended recent workout for Cuban infielder Hector Olivera

    Jan 24, 2015, 4:01 PM EST

    Hector Olivera Getty Getty Images

    The Giants, Padres, Rangers, Braves, and Yankees are among the teams showing strong interest in Olivera.

  14. 1953 scouting report for Ernie Banks

    Jan 24, 2015, 3:15 PM EST

    Ernie Banks AP AP

    Check out this scouting report from when Banks was 22 years old.

  15. Joe Posnanski: Remembering ‘Mr. Cub,’ Ernie Banks

    Jan 24, 2015, 2:40 PM EST

    MLB Photos Archive

    From the start, even in those turbulent times, even though Chicago was finding its way in a changing America, people in Chicago did not see the color of his skin. From the start, Chicago loved Ernie Banks.

  16. Ryan Vogelsong “really wasn’t comfortable with what was going on” with Astros before returning to Giants

    Jan 24, 2015, 2:16 PM EST

    vogelsong getty Getty Images

    Did something strange happen between Ryan Vogelsong and the Astros which led to his return to the Giants?

  17. Vince Coleman joining White Sox staff to help with baserunning

    Jan 24, 2015, 1:11 PM EST

    Vince Coleman Getty Getty Images

    Coleman, who ranks sixth on MLB’s all-time list with 752 stolen bases, spent last the two seasons as a minor league outfield/baserunning coach with the Astros.

  18. Athletics and Fernando Abad avoid arbitration with one-year deal

    Jan 24, 2015, 12:05 PM EST

    Fernando Abad AP AP

    Abad, 29, posted an excellent 1.57 ERA and 51/15 K/BB ratio across 57 1/3 innings out of Oakland’s bullpen in 2014.

  19. What they’re saying about the passing of Cubs legend Ernie Banks

    Jan 24, 2015, 11:11 AM EST

    Ernie Banks AP AP

    Reactions from a baseball world in mourning after the passing of Cubs legend Ernie Banks.

  20. Alex Rodriguez recently met with incoming MLB commissioner Rob Manfred

    Jan 24, 2015, 10:02 AM EST

    Alex Rodriguez AP AP

    With Rob Manfred set to take over for Bud Selig as MLB commissioner on Sunday, Alex Rodriguez recently paid him a visit in an attempt to clear the air and turn the page on the drama surrounding the Biogenesis scandal.

Featured video

Cubs shore up rotation with Jon Lester
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. R. Vogelsong (5843)
  2. J. Shields (5200)
  3. I. Suzuki (4378)
  4. M. Scherzer (4238)
  5. D. Fowler (3848)
  1. J. Gomes (3525)
  2. J. Santana (3503)
  3. Y. Gallardo (3485)
  4. J. Profar (3326)
  5. J. Papelbon (3256)