We've written way too many words about the closer situation in Detroit this year. But the Tigers finally pulled the trigger after three weeks of screwing around, and they reinstalled Jose Valverde into the ninth inning job on Wednesday. Of course, despite all of the warning signs Valverde showed last year, he threw a perfect ninth to save the Tigers' 7-5 win over the Royals. However, the outing wasn't perfect, as Valverde didn't record one whiff in his 18 pitches, didn't strike a batter out, and threw nothing but fastballs in his first inning of the season. You can't draw conclusions from one outing, especially one where the results were so contradictory of the process like yesterday.
PIC OF THE DAY
Diamondbacks shortsop Didi Gregorius gets upended by Brandon Crawford of the Giants.
Game of the Day: Diamondbacks 3, Giants 2 (ten innings). Arizona won a wild extra innings affair for the second straight day by the bay. The Snakes trailed 1-0 heading into the eighth, but AJ Pollock singled in Gerardo Parra against Madison Bumgarner to tie the game up at one. The Diamondbacks took the lead in the ninth after Parra rapped a single to left off of Jose Mijares, bringing in Didi Gregorius. With JJ Putz unavailable for Arizona, David Hernandez came on for the save, but Brandon Crawford sent the game to extra innings with a solo homer off of Hernandez. But in the tenth, a Wil Nieves sac fly off of Chad Gaudin brought Paul Goldschmidt home to put Arizona back on top. Matt Reynolds came on to finish the game off, and pitched around a two out double from Brandon Belt to record his second save of the season.
Pitching Lines of the Day: Alex Cobb stymied the Yankees in a 3-0 Rays win, pitching 8 1/3 shutout innings and allowing just three hits, striking out seven and walking one. Yu Darvish was incredible in an 11-3 Rangers win in Anaheim, allowing a three hits in six scoreless innings, tallying 11 strikeouts and just two walks. The Reds edged the Cubs 1-0 thanks to Mat Latos not allowing a run over his seven innings of work, giving up four hits and one walk while punching out four hitters. Roy Halladay got a no decision in the Phillies' 5-3 loss to the Pirates, allowing one run on just one hit in six innings, striking out eight and walking two. Edinson Volquez led the Padres to a 2-1, streak-snapping win over the Brewers, allowing five hits in seven shutout innings, striking out three hitters and walking none.
Hitting Lines of the Day: The A's fell 6-5 to the Red Sox despite Chris Young going 2/3 with two homers, four RBI, and a walk. The unlikely duo of Brandon Laird and Ronny Cedeno led the Astros to an 10-3 win over the Mariners, with Laird going 3/4 with two doubles, a homer, and four RBI, while the light-hitting Cedeno went 3/4 with two runs, three RBI, a double, and a homer. Nelson Cruz and Lance Berkman gave the Rangers all the offense they needed in their blowout win in Anaheim, as Cruz went 3/4 with two runs, three RBI, and a homer, while Berkman went 2/4 with two runs, four RBI, a walk, and a homer. Then, there's JP Arencibia, who helped Toronto to a 6-5 win over Baltimore in 11 innings, going 3/5 with two runs, two RBI, a double, and a homer.
Other Games: The White Sox edged the Indians 3-2. The Cardinals beat Stephen Strasburg and swept the Nationals, winning 4-2. Craig Kimbrel blew his first save of the year as Atlanta fell to Colorado, 6-5 in 12 innings. The Mets beat the Dodgers 7-3 in ten innings thanks to a Jordany Valdespin walkoff grand slam.
What You Missed: Nothing, really.
Today's Games: James Shields and Justin Verlander will duel in Detroit. Cliff Lee starts for the Phillies against the surging Pirates. Clay Buchholz gets the nod for the Red Sox, hosting the Astros. Mark Buehrle takes on Hiroki Kuroda in the Bronx. Gio Gonzalez starts for the Nationals hosting the Reds. Edwin Jackson starts for the Cubs in Miami. Chris Sale and the White Sox host the Rays. Jorge de la Rosa gets the nod for the Rockies in Arizona. Jason Hammel and the Orioles will take on Jarrod Parker and the A's.
National TV: Blue Jays-Yankees (7 PM, MLB Network), Reds-Nationals (7 PM, MLB Network [alternate])
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.