Found October 14, 2012 on
Fox Sports Detroit:
New York Yankees
Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland is loyal to his players, perhaps to a fault.
If the Tigers are going to beat the New York Yankees in the ALCS, that will have to change.
Leyland has stuck with struggling players like Brandon Inge, Brennan Boesch and Ryan Raburn before admitting recently that he stuck with Raburn too long.
Inge didn't stick with the Tigers past April, finding a home with the Oakland A's, Boesch did not make either the ALDS or ALCS rosters and Raburn was placed on the DL and is home in Tampa.
Now the time has come to decide what to do with struggling closer Jose Valverde.
After a stunning meltdown in Game 4 in Oakland, which the Tigers lost, Valverde once again couldn't get it done in Game 1 against the Yankees.
Although the resilient Tigers were able to come back for a 6-4 win and take home-field advantage from the Yankees, it was no thanks to Valverde.
The Tigers forged a 4-0 lead thanks to two RBIs from Delmon Young and one each from Prince Fielder and rookie Avisail Garcia.
Even though it was not a save situation, Leyland elected to have Valverde start the bottom of the ninth and the results were disastrous.
Valverde gave up a two-run home run to Ichiro Suzuki. After striking out Robinson Cano for the second out, he walked Mark Teixeira.
Pitching coach Jeff Jones came out to talk to Valverde but Raul Ibanez hit the game-tying home run.
Although Leyland had Octavio Dotel warming up in the bullpen, he did not bring him in to face the hottest hitter the Yankees have at the moment.
"Ibanez has had pretty good success off Dotel, not in a lot of at-bats but pretty good success," Leyland said in his post-game press conference. "I thought he might charge a fastball with him as well."
Regardless, Leyland could have brought Dotel in, had him walk Ibanez intentionally and then go after Eric Chavez.
Leyland admitted after the game that he had Dotel up because he "saw some things I didn't really like."
There's nothing to like about the way Valverde's pitching right now and Leyland can't afford to let the veteran closer continue to close games. Leyland gave him a second chance after the Game 4 debacle in Oakland and Valverde failed.
Young, who drove in the game-winning run in the 12th inning with a double, said he still had faith in Valverde.
"Papa Grande's a big leaguer," Young told FOX Sports Detroit's John Keating on the field after the game. "It's happened before. He's had some big saves throughout his career. Hopefully he can just put this game behind him and make a few adjustments and come out here in a save situation or if we need to get some outs."
Leyland said he was going to discuss the situation with the rest of his coaches.
"We're going to put our heads together, we're going to talk with him, we're going to talk with the staff and try to figure if there's something going on that's maybe being camouflaged, maybe is, maybe isn't," Leyland said. "So I don't want to get carried away at this press conference until we have more information. Everything will be cleared up for everybody by the time I come in here before the game (Sunday)."
If Valverde is hurt, they can replace him with a player not currently on the ALCS roster. However, that would mean that Valverde would not play in the World Series should the Tigers advance.
Left-hander Darin Downs is a possibility with all the lefties the Yankees have, or the Tigers could go with hard-throwing right-hander Brayan Villarreal.
It's not ideal to have closer-by-committee, especially in the playoffs, but perhaps that's what the Tigers will have to do at this point.
One possibility, the experienced and well-traveled Dotel, threw 27 pitches in Game 1, which makes him an unlikely candidate to close Game 2.
Joaquin Benoit would normally be the No. 1 candidate as he has closed on days when Valverde was unavailable because of injury or having pitched too many days in a row, but he has not been as effective as he was in the first half of the season. Al Alburquerque might be able to close for a day.
The only thing for certain is that Valverde cannot be the closer anymore.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
THE EYES HAVE IT
As is plainly evident above, Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer has Heterochromia iridum, a condition that in the most basic of layman’s terms causes a person’s eyes to be two different colors. Having said condition, the unique set of goggles Scherzer strapped to his head to protect his multi-colored eyes during Detroit’s celebration following the team [...]
Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland has something to think about before Sunday's second game of the American League Championship Series -- whether to change closers for the 169th game of the year. After closer Jose Valverde was hammered for a second straight postseason game, Leyland hinted that a shift might be imminent. "We're going to discuss this as a staff,"...
Jim Leyland was thinking about it. That much, we knew.
The evidence was beyond the Yankee Stadium wall, in left-center field, where Octavio Dotel warmed up in the visiting bullpen. He stirred one batter into the ninth inning Saturday night, after Russell Martin's single started the ninth inning from hell for the Detroit Tigers.
Jose Valverde is the Tigers' closer. He has...
A blown call on a tag play at second base cost the Yankees two runs and possibly Game 2 against the Tigers in the ALCS. See video of the terrible call here.
Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland announced Sunday afternoon he will not use closer Jose Valverde in that role in, at least temporarily. Leyland did not have a timetable for Valverde to return as closer, but said the pitcher still has the long-term job. Valverde has a 27.00 ERA in 2 1/3 innings of relief during three postseason appearances. On Saturday night, he allowed four...
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the Detroit Tigers will take on the New York Yankees in a playoff series. This time however, the stakes will be elevated. In 2006 and 2011 the Tigers eliminated the Yankees in the ALDS series. In 2012, these two teams will square off in the ALCS for the right to represent the American League in the World Series.The schedule looks like this:Game...
NEW YORK (AP) -- Jose Valverde didn't finish Game 2 of the AL championship series for the Detroit Tigers but retains his closer's role for now.
"I guess that sounds like I am mud watching, but I am really not," manager Jim Leyland said. "We will do some work with him."
Valverde allowed a tying two-run double to Oakland's Seth Smith on Wednesday in...
As most of the baseball world speculates why the New York Yankees are failing on a stage where they're accustomed to succeeding, perhaps it's time for the experts take a look at what the Detroit Tigers are doing right.
The Tigers lead the American League Championship Series two games to none after Sunday's 3-0 Game 2 victory because their starting pitching has been better...
Anibal Sanchez gave a performance against New York that the Detroit Tigers have come to expect from Justin Verlander.
The Tigers' ace is next in line for a chance to toy with the Yankees' suddenly dreadful offense.
Sanchez shut down a Yankees lineup minus the injured Derek Jeter, Detroit scored twice after a missed call by an ump and won without any extra-inning drama,...
The Detroit Tigers have one day to savor their triumph in Oakland before a whirlwind start to the AL championship series.
The Tigers are still waiting to find out their next opponent. The New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles play the decisive game of their division series Friday, and the ALCS starts Saturday.
Further complicating matters is the fact that the Tigers need two contingency...
Tonight was the start of the American League Championship Series. The New York Yankees were taking on the Detroit Tigers for Game 1 of a possible seven game series.
Doug Fister started for the Tigers, he went 6.1 innings and gave up six hits. Andy Pettitte was the starter for the Yankees, he went 6.2 innings giving up seven hits and two earned runs.Prince Fielder had an RBI single...
The video (below) is a major lesson to all who are attending this year's Championship Series MLB games that YOU SHOULDN'T TALK ABOUT PEOPLE IN THE STANDS.According to a Youtube uploader, the family of Prince Fielder chewed out a fan who began picking at Fielder's son in the stand during Game 5 of the Oakland Athletics match-up against the Detroit Tigers, a series...
Here we go again.
For the third time in seven years, the Tigers will face the New York Yankees in the postseason. Detroit won the first two matchups they are the only major-league franchise to have beaten New York twice in the playoffs without losing but those were five-game series in 2006 and 2011. This will be the first time the teams have played in a seven-game series.
The Detroit Tigers beat the New York Yankees 6-4 in game one of the ALCS, tonight at Yankee Stadium from the Bronx, NY.
Tigers lead series over Yankees 1-0.
W - Drew Smyly (1-0), L - David Phelps (0-1)
Andy Pettitte pitched a quality game by going 6.2 innings pitched, allowed 7 hits, gave up 2 runs, walked 3 and struck out 5 batters.
Derek Lowe gave up a two-run...
The Detroit Tigers beat the New York Yankees 3-0 in game two of the ALCS, last night at Yankee Stadium from the Bronx, NY.
Tigers lead series over Yankees 2-0.
W - Anibal Sanchez (1-0), L - Hiroki Kuroda (0-1), S - Phil Coke (1).
Hiroki Kuroda pitched a great game, even thought he had zero run support. He pitched 7.2 innings, allowed 5 hits, gave up 3 earn runs and...