Originally written on Tigers Weblog  |  Last updated 10/22/14
Detroit-tigers-kansas-city
Detroit Tigers: 37-28, 1st Place (4.5 ahead of Cleveland).  Who the (expletive) should Leyland close with? (to quote the skipper). Well it looks like the answer, for now, is going to be Jose Valverde, who is still the closer. (Although it should be noted that Valverde’s appearance was not a save situation, and that Phil Coke was warming up in the bullpen). Valverde himself was campaigning for an appearance, and “wasn’t shy” about it. ***** In Friday’s pre game talk Leyland followed up his “who should I close with?” rant by putting a little heat on his offense. When someone mentioned that the offense seems to fall off in late innings, Leyland went off: “Why don’t you write about it?” Leyland said. “You write about Valverde. You write about the (expletive) closer. Write about that. Write about it…We have to improve in close games,” Leyland said. “We haven’t done very well in close games. We’ve been terrible.” That IS the other side of the poor record in one-run games (7-11) and extra inning games (2-7): if the offense regularly disappears in the late and close situations, eventually a crack will show somewhere in the bullpen. It is possible to have your bullpen give up a run or two and still win games. Here is what happens to the Tiger hitters in “Late and Close” situations: BA: .198 (15th) OB: .291 (13th) SLG: .267 (15th) OPS: .558 (15th) They also have scored a mere 23 “late and close” runs, which is also dead last (Baltimore is best with 72). Blame can be evenly spread, even Cabrera isn’t immune. Here are the team late and close BA/OPS numbers. .231/.858  Tuiasosopo .278/.806  Infante .167/.786  Santiago .289/.684  Peralta .211/.671  Avila .231/.605  Jackson .222/.596  Kelly .220/.587  Fielder .238/.499  Pena .135/.482  Cabrera .130/.390  Dirks .114/.368  Hunter .143/.343  Garcia .139/.339  Martinez ***** All that aside, today’s matchup projects to be one that favors the Tigers. Detroit sends out Anibal Sanchez, who was a Joe Mauer single away from no-hitting the Twins the last time he faced them. The Tigers face Deduno, whom they knocked for 6 runs in 5 innings.  Dirks had 3 hits against Deduno in that game, and Kelly hit a home run, and they are both in the lineup today, in case you thought nobody paid attention to these things ***** Today’s Player of the Pre-game:  Victor Martinez. Teams have been putting Cabrera on base, and Fielder has been making them pay.  Deduno pitched around Fielder the last time the two teams played (4 walks), and Victor couldn’t capitalize. He is likely to get another chance tonight…hopefully not when the game is late and close (see list above). Today’s Donkified Lineup: Jackson, CF Dirks, LF Cabrera, 3B Fielder, DH Martinez, 1B Peralta, SS Kelly, RF Infante, 2B Avila, C
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kobe Bryant on ESPN article: ‘I just kind of roll with it’

Georgia releases statement about Todd Gurley's status

Michigan QB talks about racist messages he receives

Giants dethrone Royals in Game 1 of World Series

Devils winger sends zinger about nasty facial cuts

Wife of Royals pitcher leaves World Series ticket as tip

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Chandler Jones to miss a month with hip injury

Lance Briggs left Bears' locker room to avoid the fighting

Could the Seahawks have gotten more for Percy Harvin?

Five storylines to watch in the 2014 World Series

Favre delays Lambeau return due to Bart Starr’s health

Cowboys release Michael Sam from practice squad

WATCH: Isaiah Thomas forces OT, stares down Mayweather

10 bold predictions for Week 8 of NFL season

WATCH: Arkansas St. RB scores improbable touchdown

Royals fans sleeping during Game 1 loss at World Series

Matt Flynn had a blast at Pearl Jam concert

Report: Back injury could end Nathan Horton's career

Report: Ray Rice files grievance against Ravens

UEFA Champions League midway report: Groups E – H

PHOTO: Fans place Manning’s 509 football in Hall of Fame

Jets sign Jeremy Kerley to $16M 4-year extension

10 teams that should try to trade for Yoenis Cespedes

Lego stadiums: turning a childhood hobby into a business

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

10 bold predictions for NFL Week 8

Pitcher's wife leaves generous tip

Nicklaus defends Jameis Winston

NFL players who could be traded by the deadline

Royals fans sleeping during Game 1

Rice files grievance against Ravens

UEFA Champions League midway report

Cowboys release Michael Sam

Bayless: Kobe's sexual assault trial gave him 'edge'

10 teams that should try to trade for Yoenis Cespedes

Five storylines to watch in the 2014 World Series

Ben Roethlisberger rips media

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.