Originally written on The Detroit Sports Site  |  Last updated 4/29/13
Michigan-news-february
lakelandlocal, Flickr Each Monday, good or bad, we’ll look back at the biggest theme of the week that was for the Detroit Tigers. Forever, the biggest story in the young 2013 season for the Tigers has been the team’s troubles in the bullpen stemming from the lack of a closer. Last week, though, everything changed with the arrival of a familiar face. Jose Valverde, sporting a new delivery and a two-toned goatee while missing his usual glasses and 10 pounds, came in Tuesday night and quickly gained a save against the Kansas City Royals. Despite two hard hit balls, there was little drama. Saturday afternoon, Valverde slammed the door against the Atlanta Braves collecting his first two strikeouts of the year. Sunday, in a non-save situation with two runners on, Valverde put the finishing touches on a weekend sweep by not allowing a run. Who is this guy? Suddenly, Valverde looked more like the pitcher who once converted 49 straight saves for the Tigers in 2011 instead of the guy getting rocked repeatedly and making every save an adventure in 2012. If time heals all wounds, perhaps it can also cure deliveries and confidence problems, as well. No matter if a new mindset or bleach job caused the resurgence, it’s important for the Tigers to have Valverde in the back end of their bullpen. Having a real closer allows everybody else to relax and settle into their usual roles. Phil Coke doesn’t have to pretend to be a closer, and Joaquin Benoit, Octavio Dotel and Al Alburquerque can handle innings six through eight. With Valverde back, Detroit’s bullpen suddenly has some much needed depth and can get back to the bread and butter which made them successful in the past. For confidence sake, it was also important for Valverde to get off to a good start himself. Had he not converted a few saves immediately and had a stress free outing in a non-save situation, fans would have probably come completely unglued, causing Valverde added pressure. Now that the first week is successfully behind him, Valverde can settle in and get down to business as usual, which is good news. Having a regular closer back on the job can be a huge boost for the Tigers, a team which obviously needs the certainty of an established player getting them saves to enjoy big success. Our Facebook feedback of the week naturally focuses on Valverde’s return, and the reaction of the fans when they heard he was finally on his way back to Detroit. Many people didn’t like the news, obviously, but above all the noise, one particular reader was ahead of the curve with his analysis. Jay Vander Myde: If he has control of his pitches, he can’t be any worse. Thus far, Jay is right. Valverde, with control, has actually been much better. Max DeMara is a senior editor at The Detroit Sports Site. You can find him on Twitter @SportsGuyTheMax
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Buffalo Bills name Tyrod Taylor their starting QB

Clemson QB Deshaun Watson: My goal is to go undefeated

Chip Kelly praises Tim Tebow: ‘He’s had a good camp’

Jay Gruden: RG3 benched for performance, not concussion

Judge: No settlement in Brady against NFL, decision by Friday

Wozniacki: Media should move on from McIlroy relationship

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Hogan contemplated suicide after racist rant went public

Fred Jackson released by Bills after eight seasons with team

Appellate Court sides with MLB in minimum wage lawsuit

Giants owner at Brady hearing, reportedly at judge's request

Indians owner attempting to sell minority stakes to raise cash

Kirk Cousins reportedly named Week 1 starter by Redskins

MLB 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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five NFL teams that should trade for Robert Griffin III

10 takeaways from Week 3 of the NFL preseason

Cubs' Jake Arrieta no-hits the Dodgers

Chicago Bears release Tim Jennings

U.S. Open men's preview

U.S. Open women's preview

D'Angelo Russell zings Lakers fans

Every NBA division's most interesting rookie for 2015-16

Fantasy football round-by-round draft strategy

Ronda Rousey's Carl’s Jr. ad

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker