Originally written on Tigers Weblog  |  Last updated 9/17/12

77-68, 2nd place, 2 games behind CWS.

Before we get too upset about last night’s game, let’s remember that the Tigers had won 4 in a row heading into the game, and we’re not going to win them all. Not even against Cleveland.

Jose Valverde, however, does need to be looked at. If you’re questioning your closer during a season, you’re in a bad spot. If you’re questioning him at the end of the season, you’re in a terrible spot. And I’m afraid that the Tigers find themselves in a terrible spot. After allowing 3 hits and 2 ER while only recording 1 out last night, Valverde now has a 5.79 ERA and 1.71 WHIP over his last 10 outings. He’s allowed a run in 5 out of those 10 appearances and has struck out only 6 in 9 1/3. (He’s walked 4 – but two of those were intentional.) Despite what Valverde says about his arm feeling fine after pitching for the 5th night in 6 days, those balls were rockets.

Miraculously, the Tigers have won despite Valverde’s recent struggles, but who knows how often he’ll be given multiple run leads headed to the 9th. Though I doubt that the thought of replacing Valverde has been even a fleeting whim in Leyland’s mind; so you can largely ignore what the numbers & performances are telling us.

Fister looks to close out the season series with the Sox with the Tigers’ 13th win out of 18 games vs. Chicago. Since the All-Star break, Fister is 7-2 with a 2.49 ERA and 68 Ks in 76 IPs. His BAA during the stretch is .202. Fister has been even better as of late, as he’s won 4 out of his last 5 starts, and recall his masterful 7 IP 2 H (solo HRs) 2 HR performance last Tuesday against these same Sox. Rios is batting .500 against Dougie in 14 career ABs.

Quintana responded to a lot of critics who claimed that he was tiring with a tremendous performance last Monday against the Tigers. The 7 2/3 7 hit 1 ER performance was Jose Quintana’s finest in almost two months, and Ventura gave him an extra 2 days in the hopes of a repeat this afternoon. Still, the lefty is 1-2 with a 6.39 ERA over his last five starts, so I’m saying there’s a chance.

A few notes:

- Not everyone wants Leyland fired.

- Peralta hasn’t committed an error since June 21st. That’s 73 consecutive games and the longest such Tiger streak since at least 1957 (which means that the Tigers notes researchers got a little lazy).

- Tigers starters have 17 quality starts over their past 24 outings. Detroit is 2nd in the AL with 83 quality starts this year. Whenever the off-season starts, starting pitching should be a non-starter.

- The Tigers are 31-10 against CWS since September 7, 2010.

Today’s Lineup:

1. Jackson, CF
2. Infante, 2B
3. Cabrera, 3B
4. Fielder, 1B
5. Young, DH
6. Peralta, SS
7. Boesch, LF
8. Garcia, RF
9. Laird, C

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