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Tigers skipper Jim Leyland keeping Jose Valverde at closer

Oct 14, 2012, 1:42 PM EDT

valverde getty Getty Images

Jose Valverde coughed up four runs in less than inning of work in Game 1 of the ALCS on Saturday night at Yankee Stadium and now has a brutal 8.79 career postseason ERA. But the Detroit coaching staff is apparently not ready to make a change.

According to beat writer Chris Iott of, manager Jim Leyland said Sunday morning that Valverde won’t be used in Game 2 ¬†of the ALCS but is not done getting save opportunities this October.

“He doesn’t deserve to become a dart board,” said the veteran Tigers skipper. “Jose Valverde is still a huge part of this team.”

Valverde registered a 3.78 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 69 innings during the regular season, converting 35-of-40 save chances. The 34-year-old right-hander is scheduled to hit the free agent market next month.

  1. thewhinebag - Oct 14, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    “He doesn’t deserve to become a dart board.” Would be nice to hear this from Girardi re: A-Rod. Instead he perpetuates the scapegoat tag by pinch-hitting him every night.

    • bankboy2012 - Oct 14, 2012 at 2:12 PM

      Well of course Valverde doesn’t deserve to become a dart board. He’s more of a pinata at this point, everyone’s hitting him.

  2. Old Gator - Oct 14, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Advantage Borg and Cardinals. I would really appreciate Leyland’s loyalty if I were his dog, but this guy is a one-man arson squad right now. If I’m a Tigger with sugarplum dreams of holding that big unwieldy trophy in my champagne-soaked arms, I don’t think I’d greet this heartwarming display of confidence with the same unabashed admiration.

    • historiophiliac - Oct 14, 2012 at 2:17 PM

      Except that Leyland has shown that kind of loyalty to others on the team when they haven’t performed well either; others will surely recognize that they too have been recipients of his confidence. I didn’t really expect Leyland to ditch him completely, but just because the manager won’t rule out playing him doesn’t mean that the team won’t exercise some group pressure on him. Miggy was pretty pissed last night and players can’t help but be frustrated when their work is undermined like that. I fully expect that he will experience some “socialization” from the group. Still, what Leyland said was: I’m pulling him today and his future is uncertain. He said it nicely but Valverde will undoubtedly get the hint (or better, if he wants to play again). You don’t have to Valentine your players — particularly if you want them to improve.

      • Old Gator - Oct 14, 2012 at 4:35 PM

        I agree absolutely – as a general rule. However, this isn’t the regular season and there’s not much time to see if the massive doses of TLC are working their wonders on that imploded psyche. Probably better to step on some toes now and let them heal over the winter.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 14, 2012 at 5:11 PM

        I’m right there with you. You can see from my other comments that I am very unhappy with Valverde and frustrated that Leyland won’t keep him on a short leash. That’s Leyland’s MO and it drives me batshit sometimes. But, he’s probably looking at it less emotionally and in looking at the numbers, Valverde does have a good record. I think he’s cold right now, but you know how much my opinion counts. As this kind of behavior is not new for Valverde though, I tend not to see it as a meltdown — it’s his usual inconsistency (which is why *I* think we need a different closer — but again my opinion). If Leyland would just be willing to pull people earlier when they screw up, I think that would really deal with the situation. In do or die situations, you don’t wait to see if they can get themselves out of a pickle — you yank them and go with someone else. That’s a management issue.

  3. iamthot - Oct 14, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Whatever Jimmy

  4. tigers182 - Oct 14, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    umm, what?!

  5. pisano - Oct 14, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    I’m sure the Yankees hope he stays the closer,especially after last night, but if memory serves me right, I think they lit him up before.

  6. rodtorfelson - Oct 14, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Actually, the reports out of Detroit say Valverde has been “indefinitely” removed as the Tigers’ closer.

    • indaburg - Oct 14, 2012 at 3:38 PM

      I saw the actual press conference on MLB earlier and Leyland said that Valverde definitely will not close tonight, although he still considers Valverde his closer. He also said he wasn’t going to say anything else until he’s had a chance to speak to Valverde directly. Leyland said that the tempo of Val’s delivery was off–too slow–and he and his staff were going work with Val on that. My interpretation is that Valverde is the closer in name only, and that the skipper will consider all options.

  7. mybrunoblog - Oct 14, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    Drew Storen supports this move.

    • Old Gator - Oct 14, 2012 at 4:17 PM

      Heath Bell was so pleased that he threw his pitbulls a Chihuahua.

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