The numbers say you should trust Tigers reliever Jose Valverde every time he hits the mound.
During his return to the team Valverde has put up the best numbers on the team and some of the best in baseball. In 12 appearances he has an earned run average of 0.75 and a WHIP of 0.58. Opponents are batting .077 against him and he has struck out 11 batters in 12 innings pitched. That is pretty darn good and you would think Valverde would be the toast of the town.
Not so fast. There is just something that makes me hesitate. How long can he keep this up and do you really believe Papa Grande will be mowing them down late this summer and into the playoffs? That is what gives you pause. What happened last fall is still fresh in our minds. Valverde followed up a near perfect season with an above average one.
Then once the playoffs began he could not get anybody out. It was troubling to the team and he got so bad that you had people screaming for Phil Coke to be the closer. Wow. We wanted a lefty closer that cannot get right handed batters out. Amazing.
Valverde won’t be trusted again in this town no matter how long this streak continues. We will always remember him at his absolute worst. We’ve been shaken and stirred. It won’t be the same.
Valverde is a stop gap until Bruce Rondon can get enough confidence to pitch in the Major Leagues. The guy looks like Cy Young in the minors and Mr. Meltdown in the Majors. General Manager Dave Dombrowski said he was going to be the closer this summer. The problem is the guy grips the ball so tight facing Major League pitching that cork pops out of the baseball every time he pitches.
Right now Valverde is holding down the ship. But how long will this last?
(I will be signing my book 100 Things Tiger Fans Should Know and Do Before they Die Thursday (7:30 pm) at The Oak Café in Wyandotte. And I never step out of that place without one of their great burgers. Books are $15 each or two for $25.)