Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Jose Valverde, the Detroit Tigers and seeing what sticks

When I envision Jose Valverde coming out of the bullpen for the Tigers, I don't necessarily see impending disaster.
I view it instead as a process of what somebody (honestly, I forget who) once referred to me as "weeding out the weeds."
The Tigers re-signed Valverde, whose meltdown in the playoffs last year is well-documented. They need a closer. They must determine whether he can fill the role. If he can't, they will find out - sooner instead of later. Reportedly, he had been throwing well during a brief stint in Lakeland.

Jose Valverde: Nothing ventured, nothing gained
This could play out in a number of different ways. One is he will be awful. OK. You know. Another is Valverde does well for a period and works as a transition to another option, whether it be Bruce Rondon,, who was also called up, or a trade when it is more viable to make one.
Two keys will determine Valverde's performance. Does he throw early-count strikes? When he faltered last season, he fell behind hitters too much with his fastball.The other will be the action on his split-finger pitch. When it's working, it comes in like a fastball and acts like it is dropping off a table at the plate. When it isn't, the ball tumbles more on its direction to the plate, making it much easier for hitters to recognize. It's not that hitters club that pitch, but rather just take it. More often than not, it's for a ball, creating a situation where Valverde inevitably must come in with a fat fastball.
One thing you can be certain is that Valverde will handle the pressure of the situation. His antics on the mound are a sideshow. In reality, Valverde has great confidence in himself, understands he is going to get criticized when he falters and doesn't dwell on it. He is a tough competitor. His issues were strictly an inability to make the pitches he used to because his so-called "stuff" was faltering.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, this closing thing "by committee" is a disaster, already lost 3 games out of 18. That's 17%.

Coke is a disaster at closing.

I still can't understand how Dumbrowski got us into this.

The offensive slump at LA is confusing.

7:18 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leyland just keeps going to Coke in extra innings, now 4 walks and another loss.

Jim, get your head out of your a.., I mean behind!!

12:21 PM 

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