Results tagged ‘ Jose Valverde ’
Yesterday afternoon the Tigers announced they reached a deal with Jose Valverde, signing their former closer to a minor-league deal. A lot of people made a lot of assumptions about why the Tigers would even think about bringing him back, and others felt this was a sign of Detroit panicking about their current bullpen. Personally, I think it’s a great signing.
For a guy who was listed as one of the top-50 free agents entering the 2012 offseason, Valverde found himself without a team during spring training. He was originally supposed to pitch in the World Baseball Classic, but decided against it due to personal reasons. If Valverde did pitch in the WBC, I feel pretty confident he would have found a contract offer somewhere. Instead, he ended up pitching a showcase for several teams in the Dominican Republic.
The Tigers liked the progress Valverde displayed in those sessions (velocity appeared to be back, plus was throwing several splitters), and decided it was worth giving him a chance to prove he can once again be the type of closer he was from 2010 through the first half of 2012. The best part of this contract is the fact that Valverde is guaranteed absolutely nothing besides a spot in Toledo’s bullpen. Worst case scenario, he opts out of his contract on May 5th (which he is allowed to do if he’s not on the Major League roster by then) and it didn’t cost the Tigers a thing. I’d imagine Detroit won’t even be able to sign Brian Wilson (who is recovering from his second Tommy John surgery) for such a low-risk deal.
My only concern with this deal, is how it will end up hurting the development of Bruce Rondon, who I do believe is the future closer for Detroit. Hopefully the Tigers will be smart enough to give both Rondon and Valverde a chance to develop, that way they’ll be able to figure out which (could also be neither or both) of them will be able to make the Tigers a better team. If that means we get a second helping of the Big Potato, I’m not opposed to it.
Tomorrow marks the beginning of the end of the baseball season, as the San Francisco Giants will host the Detroit Tigers for the first game of the World Series. The Tigers will look to redeem themselves after their disappointing showing in the 2006 World Series, whereas the Giants are simply hoping to recapture the magic they had when they were world champions back in 2010.
So before the first pitch is thrown, I wanted to take a minute to give my official World Series thoughts and predictions. Being from Detroit, it’s not easy to be objective, but I’m going to give it my best shot.
There’s an old saying in baseball that pitching and defense wins championships. Of course if history has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is quite as simple as that. It’s an ironic adage, because the Tigers definitely have better pitching, but the Giants definitely have the superior defense. Does this mean there’s no clear favorite? Oh there is, and the advantage definitely goes to Detroit.
The Tigers have several things going for them, including the fact that all of their pitchers are rested, and they can line up their rotation however they like. Coming off a crucial game seven on Monday, the Giants do not have that luxury. The Giants are going to possibly have to face Justin Verlander, Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez each two times. Throw in the Max Scherzer for at least one start, and things start to look promising for Detroit.
In case you’re not aware, in nine playoff games, Detroit’s starting pitchers have combined to go 5-1 with a 1.02 ERA. On the other hand, the bullpen hasn’t been nearly as good. Joaquin Benoit has had his struggles, and nobody is even sure if Jose Valverde will get a chance to save another game this postseason. If Detroit is going to win the World Series, the bullpen simply needs to be better.
Even if Detroit allows a few runs, there’s still no need to panic. When the heart of your lineup has Miguel Cabrera, (who just so happened to win the Triple Crown) Prince Fielder and Delmon Young, you can’t help but feel like your team is going to be able to score a few runs every night.
Regardless of how heavily their favored Detroit is, you still cannot count out the San Francisco Giants. They have two of the most dominant starting pitchers in recent years in Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, not to mention they do have home-field advantage for the series. Oh yeah, they also have the likely NL MVP in Buster Posey.
But at the end of the day, I just don’t see either team scoring a lot of runs, and Detroit’s starting pitchers have been lights out for the postseason, and I don’t see that stopping now. I’ll take the Tigers to defeat the Giants in five games.
If you’re a Tigers fan, you’ve probably found yourself wondering what’s going on with our late-inning relievers. No, I’m not necessarily talking about Jose Valverde, but two other important relievers: Phil Coke and Joaquin Benoit.
There’s no denying that Coke and Benoit have been struggling in recent weeks. It’s been an especially bizarre stretch for Benoit. Since July 1st, Benoit has allowed only eight hits in the last 13 and a third innings he’s pitched. Of those eight hits, six have been home runs. Is it bad luck? Is it a result of poor mechanics, or is he injured?
Simply put, I don’t have the answer. It’s no secret that Benoit has been nursing an aching shoulder, so I can’t help but wonder if that has something to do with it. A trip to the disabled list would certainly seem likely, but that’s merely just speculation.
Benoit struggled in the early parts of the 2011 season, so there’s still hope that he’ll be able to find a way to turn his season around. On the year, he’s pitched fairly well, posting a 3.40 ERA, while striking out just over a batter per inning.
Coke hasn’t had much consistency during the 2012 season, and hasn’t shown any clear indication that he’s closer to figuring it out. There’s no denying that Coke is a crucial piece of the Tigers bullpen, as he’s always been reliable to get left-handed batters out in the later innings of the game.
Although he’s done an okay job of keeping lefties in check (he’s holding them to a .263 batting average this year), right-handed hitters have been hitting him hard all year long. Righties are batting .393 against Coke in 89 at bats this year. It’s not exactly a small sample size, especially for someone who is expected to pitch only an inning at a time.
One would think that would lead to Coke having a terrible year, but that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, his ERA on the year (3.97) is lower than his career ERA (4.05). Perhaps we’re just starting to see that Coke simply is not as effective of a pitcher as Detroit fans had hope.
For what it’s worth, his 2011 WAR (wins above replacement) was -.1, meaning that he was determined to be worse than the average player at the same position.
With Duane Below and Darin Downs pitching well (both left-handed relief pitchers), and Drew Smyly likely to return from the disabled list, it wouldn’t shock me to see either Coke getting traded, optioned to Toledo or released. Is it likely? Probably not, but it’s something I’m sure the Tigers will be considering.
A lot of people want to be the best at what they do. It doesn’t matter if you’re a teacher, a cop, competitive eater or athlete, we all strive to be the best we can be. When it comes to pitchers in Major League Baseball, it’s hard to argue that Justin Verlander isn’t the best in the business.
The one thing that stands out about Verlander, is that he’s been consistently dominant. Coming off a year when Verlander was voted the most valuable player and best pitcher in the American League, he’s picked up right where he left off.
After pitching eight scoreless innings against the Baltimore Orioles today, Verlander not only recorded his 10th win of the year, but also lowered his ERA to 2.43. If critics were expecting some sort of statistical meltdown after last year, it certainly hasn’t happened yet. The only noticeable difference between this year and last year, is the fact that it’s highly unlikely that Verlander won’t be able to match the 24 wins he got last year, but that’s not entirely his fault.
Last year, the Tigers bullpen did a remarkable job of making sure that Verlander got every win that he was entitled to get, with Jose Valverde not blowing a save for the entire year. Not only is that not something you expect to see, but it’s not realistic to expect it to ever happen again.
So if you want to talk about who is currently the best starting pitcher in all of baseball, you’re going to have a hard time convincing me that it’s not Justin Verlander.
In case you’re not yet aware, there is now rampant speculation throughout the internet that Jose Valverde was throwing spitballs during last night’s game against the Cincinnati Reds.
I’m not here to accuse or defend any of the allegations, but I’m going to simply provide you the facts, and let you come up to your own conclusions. The first bit of evidence for the prosecution is this slmow-motion video, which clearly shows Valverde generating a mouth full of spit. Where that goes, I don’t know.
Now it’s nearly impossible to prove that Valverde is spitting on the ball, but that video will certainly raise a lot of suspicions. It’s not uncommon for baseball players to spit on the field (unless you’re in Japan, because that’s highly frowned upon), so it is possible that he was clearing his throat, or perhaps some dirt got in his mouth. Not only that, but if he was throwing spitballs, why is there only that one documented instance, and not other videos or pictures.
What do you think? Was Valverde throwing spitballs or is this just another conspiracy?
Entering tonight, the Detroit Tigers’ bullpen has the highest ERA out of all teams in the American League. If they’re going to be anything better than a .500 team, that needs to change.
Every single pitcher in the bullpen for the Tigers has had their ups and downs so far this year, and frankly, I don’t feel that confident seeing any of them entering a game right now. It’s bizarre if you think about it, because we do have several quality arms in our bullpen.
Jose Valverde hasn’t nearly looked as dominant or consistent as he has been in years past, Joaquin Benoit struggled early in the year but has looked better as of late, Phil Coke hasn’t looked sharp recently and Octavio Dotel looked horrible when he blew a save opportunity against the Mariners less than a week ago.
I’m curious if the Tigers are going to attempt to trade for a pitcher like Grant Balfour, or if they’re going to just wait until Al Alburquerque comes back. Until we get our bullpen straightened out, it’s going to be hard to put together any significant winning streaks.
While getting ready for my last baseball game, I was thinking about all of the little things that I do out of habit. I’m no different than most baseball players, we’re all a little bit superstitious.
I’d like to think that mine aren’t nearly as exciting as some of the others I’ve read about through the years. For instance, when I’m pitching, I’ll always make sure that the last person who touches the ball smiles. The list for me goes on: I will only listen to music in my car on an odd-numbered volume in my car when I drive to a game and I always touch the plate with my bat before getting ready to bat. When I’m running on the bases, I always go back and touch the bases in between every pitch. I’m sure there’s more, but that’s a good enough start for now. But without further ado, I present to you some of baseball’s more famous and obscure superstitions in baseball history.
To put it nicely, Larry Walker had an obsession with the number 3. I’m not sure where it came from, but he always wore the number 33, he never set him alarm for an exact hour but always 33 minutes past it, he also got married at 3:33 on November 3rd. Go figure that he ended up hitting .313 for his career.
Reggie Jackson wore the same batting helmet for the duration of his professional career. Jackson played for several teams during his career, and would simply just paint over his helmet every time he switched teams.
‘Pebbly Jack’ Glasscock was considered to be one of the best hitting shortstops in the late 1800s, and earned his nick name from picking up pebbles and rocks he found in the infield, and placing them in his pocket. I bet you he didn’t get off to too many rocky starts in his career.
Willie Stargell had a hall of fame career for the Pirates, hitting 475 home runs before retiring. The best part about it was that he never once used a bat with his name on it, as he used to always order his bats with the name of one of his teammates on it, never his.
Wade Boggs had all kinds of superstitions, such as fielding exactly 150 ground balls every practice, but that’s not the one he’s most famous for. Before every single game, Boggs would eat chicken before every single game.
My beloved Tigers have a few players with superstitions, such as Max Scherzer eating the biggest roast beef sandwich he can find before games that he starts, Justin Verlander eats Taco Bell the night before he pitches and Jose Valverde…well, he’s got a bunch.
He always has three pieces of gum in his right pocket, he has three gloves in his locker, he has three cars in the United States and three back in the Dominican Republic, and if he goes out to have a few drinks with his teammates, he will only have exactly three beers.
Maybe all baseball players are crazy, but if they’re producing, I doubt you’ll hear anyone complain. As for my favorite, I got to go with Babe Ruth. When asked if he had any superstitions, he said he only had one.
After last night’s game was rained out, the Tigers and Rangers played a doubleheader to make it up. The Rangers looked dominant in the first game, but the Tigers came roaring back in the second.
To say that Rick Porcello struggled in the first game is putting it nicely, but if you can’t bring you’re A-game against the Rangers, they’re going to make you pay. After scoring eight runs in the first inning, Porcello’s day was over. Home runs by Austin Jackson and Miguel Cabrera brought the Tigers closer, but it was too little, too late.
There’s really no need to panic about Porcello, as you’re going to your ups and downs as the season goes on. Porcello looked great in his first two starts, so let’s not forget that.
Looking to avoid losing their third straight home game, Justin Verlander did what he did so many times last year, and that’s put a tally in the win column.
It was obvious that the Rangers were trying to drive up Verlander’s pitched count and that approach nearly worked.
After six innings, Verlander had allowed only one run on four hits, but had thrown 115 pitches. That meant his day was done and the Tigers headed to their bullpen. Octavio Dotel held the Rangers in check, but Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde definitely provided a bit of late-inning excitement for all the fans watching the game.
But all that matters is that we were able to get the win and split the doubleheader. Hopefully the Tigers can continue to roll tomorrow so we can split this four game series before the Mariners come to town.
It may have been a cold and snowy afternoon in Detroit, but it was still a perfect day to make my first trip to Comerica Park of the year, as the Tigers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays by a final score of 5-2.
The Tigers have proved this year that it’s going to take a lot more than cold weather to slow their offense down and today was another example of that. Mike Moore did a fantastic job limiting the Tigers early in the game, but they eventually got to the Rays bullpen, scoring four runs combined between the 7th and 8th inning.
With a three-run lead heading into the top of the 9th, that only can lead to one possible thing.
Valverde coming in to get the save. Click HERE to watch his entrance to the game.
Yes, it was a “Grande” day at the ballpark, wrapped up by Jose “Papa Grande” Valverde pitching a perfect 9th inning to record his first save of the year. If you haven’t got a chance to yet, I highly recommend that you check out all the new changes at Comerica Park. Some are a little more obvious than others.
Comerica Park is a great example of how the Tigers and Mike Ilitch are committed to keeping up with the times and doing what is needed to keep up with other teams around the league. Hopefully the sun will be shining a bit more then next time I make it to a Tigers game, but as long as they keep winning, you won’t hear me complain.
Every good debate needs to have two sides, otherwise it isn’t much of a debate. It’s almost opening day, and this tends to be the time of year where everyone is making their predictions. Seeing as the Tigers begin their season tomorrow, I’m going to debate myself and tell you why the Tigers will, and will not win the World Series in 2012.
Why they will.
2011 proved that the Tigers are a dominant team, and find themselves as heavy favorites to repeat as winners of the AL Central. Breakout years from players such as Justin Verlander, Jhonny Peralta, Alex Avila and Jose Valverde weren’t flukes, and some of them could even improve in 2012!
Last year, Verlander demonstrated that he has finally turned the corner in becoming one of the best pitchers in all of baseball (if not the best). His MVP and Cy Young winning season was one that will certainly be talked about for years to come, and there’s no reason to suspect he can’t repeat it. The Tigers signed Prince Fielder, and have Delmon Young for an entire year, so he should get even more run support than he’s ever had.
When the season began in 2011, I highly doubt many people in Detroit had even heard of Doug Fister, but now it’s hard to find someone that doesn’t know who he is. After being traded to Detroit, Fister was able to put up numbers that not only rivaled Verlander, but was better than him in some (1.79 ERA for Fister compared to 2.54 for Verlander). Having him for the entire year can only lead to more wins, and get us to another World Series.
Let’s also not forget the Tigers biggest acquisition of the offseason, signing Prince Fielder to a nine-year deal. Having Fielder hitting behind Cabrera gives the Tigers the best three and four hitting combination of all of baseball.
With the pitching and offense the Tigers have, there’s no way they don’t win the World Series this year.
There’s no chance the Tigers will win the World Series.
Sure, the Tigers had an incredible year in 2011, but there’s no chance of repeating it.
Verlander is without a doubt one of the best pitchers in baseball, but there’s no chance he’s going to come close in matching any of those numbers again. Look at his career numbers, and you can see how he outperformed almost every single statistic. I’m sure he’ll have a quality season, but he won’t come close to what he did last year.
Can this team actually play defense? You have Miguel Cabrera playing third base, and one of the worst defensive first baseman in all of baseball (Fielder). Not only that, but you have Ryan Raburn playing second base, Delmon Young in left field and Jhonny Peralta at shortstop. There’s no reason to suspect that the Tigers won’t commit the most errors in all of baseball. What’s the old saying? Oh yeah, pitching and DEFENSE win championships.
There were also plenty of flukes in 2011, such as seeing Avila win the Silver Slugger, and Peralta putting up career numbers offensively. ‘Papa Grande’ won’t be so grand, and he’s going to blow a few saves along the way, too. Sure, they’ll be good enough to win their division, but there’s no way they’ll make it out of the first round.
Now that you‘ve heard both sides of the argument, what do you? Do the Tigers have what it takes to win the World Series in 2012?