DETROIT A skip, a spit and once again, it was Potato Time.
As unthinkable as it might have seemed in late October, Jose Valverde was indeed coming through that Comerica Park bullpen door.
Most of the fans rose to their feet and cheered Detroit's prodigal son, and while a few booed, everyone was on the edge of their seats as Valverde prepared to save his first game since Oct. 6. In three games after that one each against Oakland, New York and San Francisco, he had posted a 48.60 ERA.
This time, though, it was April instead of October, and he had a 7-5 ninth-inning lead to protect against Kansas City.
Valverde milked the moment, turning to look at the fans before spitting out his gum and breaking out the trademark skip that starts his jog to the mound. His first pitch to Alex Gordon was a 92-mph fastball that was too low, and because he is the Potato, he ran the count to 3-2 before getting a fly out to left field.
He hit 95 on his first pitch to Alcides Escobar before a routine...