Why Jose Valverde pitched in non-save situation

Jim Leyland knows the numbers with Jose Valverde and non-save situations. He admits that the intensity and focus can waver in some situations. An extra-inning game shouldn’t be one of them.

Between Octavio Dotel’s injury and Casey Crosby’s early exit, Leyland’s options to pitch the 10th inning were Valverde and rookies Luis Marte and Luke Putkonen. He had used Brayan Villarreal, Phil Coke and Joaquin Benoit just to get it that far, and there’s no way he’s going to risk stretching Benoit to a third inning. And with an extra-inning game at home, he wasn’t going to be saving Valverde for a save situation.

“I don’t think the adrenaline’s quite the same,” Leyland said of non-save situations for Valverde, “but obviously, you don’t have any choice. He’s our best option, without question. You try to hold it and give yourself a chance to win in the bottom of the inning. When you’re at home, that’s what you try to do. …

“I don’t do it all the time. I don’t like to do it that much. But if he’s ready to pitch and he’s your best option, I would do it.”

It wasn’t a typical Valverde meltdown. He got ahead of hitters, giving up all three of his hits in two-strike counts. His downfall, really, came down to a lob throw to first on an Eric Young sacrifice bunt, a throw that looked like it was from somebody afraid to overthrow it to first base and somehow turning it into one anyway.

There has been some debate over whether Valverde had a play at second  base, but in real time, it looked like Michael Cuddyer (0-for-8 off Valverde before his leadoff single) was close enough to second that it would’ve taken a pretty impressive, strong-armed play to get him. Had he gotten the sure out at first, he would’ve had first base open to walk Todd Helton, 6-for-10 off Valverde from their days as NL West combatants.

The error changed the situation vastly. It also left the Tigers’ bullpen situation for Saturday looking especially daunting now that Valverde, Benoit and Villarreal are all likely on rest while Doug Fister makes his first start in nearly three weeks.

20 Comments

This was posted on the wrong heading:
There is some doubt whether we will actually be buyers or sellers ourselves.
This team is beyond redemption as it is right now. If they make any changes to the roster they have to be momentous and not tweaks. There are a lot of leaks in this boat that simply plugging them with corks won’t fix.
They need to get rid of Delmon Young, a quality 2nd baseman and a stalwart LHP for the rotation. Not to mention a re-thinking of how to close out ball games when and if they are in them.
That’s a tall task and an expensive one for a MLB team that seems to be in a hand-to-mouth budget scenario.

It’s not really that tall of a task – it just depends how much we are willing to give up to get it done. We should be able to get Marco Scutaro from the Rockies to play 2B more than admirably for us, and the price shouldn’t be too steep. He’s in the last year of a contract for a team going nowhere. Give them an high-upside A-ball arm or bat and that should get it done.

Or go get Darwin Barney and Ryan Dempster from the Cubs for a package if you are willing to give up a few higher-level prospects.

Young in untradeable in a walk year unless you are dealing him to a contender, but why would we do that? And a team like the Cubs has no use for him in last place.

agree that scutaro could be a good fit at 2b. was surprised that boston traded him and also unloaded lowrie who’s having a fine season in houston. peralta has looming free agency, so tigers may look for more than a short term fix in the middle infield.
.
team has had two 4 game winning streaks this season, both within first 12 games. it seems this team can win two ways…great starting pitching or by powering up at the plate. to sustain any kind of surge, they’ll need to find other ways to win.
.
do believe the tigers will be buyers in July, unless multiple major injuries or huge deficit in standings. latter seems unlikely…chisox and indians seem flawed enough to keep the lead within range.

The rumour has that Scutaro was traded for his loyalty to Francona. He was ,beside Pappelbon, the only player not called out in the famous chicken and beer history.
Scutaro hits well playing second base. When he is at SS or 3b tends to underperform with the bat and to be injured.

I addressed bullpen use in the previous thread, but I agreed with using Valverde there and always do. Top of the 10th at home, tied, you use your best pitcher left, which is usually your closer. If our closer is not as good as some would like, that’s not on the manager. His other options were Marte and Putkonen. One can possibly make a case for Marte but I wouldn’t have brought him in there either.
Valverde didn’t lose the game, our hitters did. Again.

I get it that there needs to be dry analysis for game play, but this article is sophistry. The title for this article strikes me as apologetic and condescending in nature, and it feels like some sort of corporate line.

To say that our hitters lost the game is acceptable, but beside the point. The Tigers were tied with the Rockies until Valverde walked to the mound. Was he the best option? The gut says yes, but the statistics are more murky. IMO at the first sign of trouble, Valverde should have been yanked. He is a wild card, and one never knows which Valverde will show up. If the other options were Marte and Putkonen, left them pitch if they get outs. Let Don Kelly pitch if he can get outs. Baseball is a game of inches, and also a game of rhythm. Sometimes just the action of changing pitchers breaks up the momentum of the opposition.

If the Tigers changed the hitting coach, would it do any good? I don’t know. Because baseball is also a mental game, the clubhouse atmosphere and the general lack of accountability that has happened over time regarding certain position players has IMO soured the team. It is only the professionalism of certain players that is keeping this team afloat, and just barely. Changing the hitting coach might help, but I believe he is connected to the hip to Leyland, and because of this the only way to change the hitting coach is to change the entire staff. I don’t think the team has reached that point yet, but it is closer than you think. If the team gets to the Rangers series and gets swept in Bristol fashion, I’m thinking wholesale changes will be in store.

If I wanted to be condescending, it would’ve been a lot clearer than that.

Varlerde made an errant throw, but, during the course of of a season there will be dozens of throws off line. That’s why teams typically have 1st baseman who are tall, with long arms.We had one last year who would have been able snare that wild throw. Look at the replay, and see. It happened a couple of games ago on Jhonny Peralta’s bad throw to 1st, that let in the winning run. Were stuck with this unfortunate situation till someone has the nerve to tell Prince his is the DH.This won’t happen until lat least 2015 when Victor Matrinez’s contract expires. In the mean time slopply play will be the norm.

There is truth there, “to be honest with you”, but Prince did play a pretty nice ball game defensively and that throw was unfortunate. Also unfortunately,Prince can easily have a very bad day in the field. He looks a bit smurf-like and awkward for sure and I agree is about 4 inches shorter than you would like to see out there.
In hindsight, in terms of contract and budget impact, This was probably an ill-advised free agent signing. It was instigated by the owner and not the GM. While it may have seemed a bit dream-like to have him hitting behind Cabby the problem of being too young and too competitive to plug him in as a DH is going to haunt the club.
One can surmise (hope) that VMart will be the old VMart upon his return to his lock as DH. This will necessitate employing Prince as the 1st baseman for a couple of years at least.
I like Prince but he is a high impact player (both positively and negatively) and without the home runs that are bought and paid for, he becomes a bit of a financial impact as well. We are going to have to get used to him at 1st.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, where things actually can be done and adjustments made, we continue to have hitters who are not getting good pitches to hit. We have a placeholder DH that is willing to swing at anything above the ground and below his knees, usually on the very 1st pitch, regardless of the game situation. We have a hitting coach that can’t or won’t address this and a manager who condones it. This is actually a bigger problem than Prince.
It is contributing to and perpetuating the LOB problem and my guess is influencing others who are thinking that if DY does it why can’t I? (Boesch and Peralta).
In my mind getting rid of Delmon Young in itself, actually improves the team.
Maybe if they dump Young Prince “offers” to DH? Probably not.
I don’t mind Cabby at 3rd at all. He’s gonna miss a few out there but I think he will be happy there and to keep him happy is a wise thing. It is no time to experiment but I have often wondered if Boesch might not make a decent 1st baseman.
We also have a problem with “replacement therapy”. We have a whack of guys on the 40 man roster who do not belong there. They are clogging up the system when it comes to making moves. Matt Young, Matt Hoffman, Jose Ortega (too wild) come to mind.
Leyland has moaned about a RHB–well Brad Eldred is a RHB. Matt Young was a waste of time and was always redundant on this squad even with Andy Dirks injured!
Even the 40 man roster is uninteresting. I’m still hoping for a Katie Leyland interview!

@tigers
Lineup:
Jackson 8, Boesch 9, Cabrera 5, Fielder 3, Young dh, Peralta 6, Raburn 7, Laird 2, Santiago 4. Fister 1

There is so much frustration building up on this blog. Just an opinion. I respect everyone’s opinion, even my old friend Dan’s. Valverde is done as a closer in my opinion. First, after losing all that gut, I don’t think his fastball is as good as last year. Second, he simply has lost an effective, consistent, second pitch. Finally, when a baserunner does get on, unless he is as slow as our gang, second base almost becomes automatic. He can’t afford the luxury of walking anyone. I have no qualm with the best pitcher being used in various moments, but Jose is not the best option coming into a one run or tied game. In regard to Rich’s plea for Below to start, I think that situation will happen soon. The only encouraging thing I see here, is if Al comes back healthy, post All Star break. That would give us a decent pen. Just an opinion.

True, but he may have been the best option among Marte and Putkonen in that situation.
The best pitcher in the pen is Benoit. Three quality pitches, calm demeanor, he’d possibly make a good closer. I prefer a cold eyed assassin in the role over a dancing bear. Then the problem would be who replaces him at setup. As you mention, Greg, Alburquerque could be helpful. His health is the issue.

Agree with you Dean. That’s what I’ve been preachin’ regarding our first baseman….err DH. But still, the throw from Valverde is unacceptable. That’s not the first time he’s made a bonehead play. Don’t ask me to remember the last one, but I know I’ve seen them before. Maybe they should bring in the Rover to stand beside him and play defense for him.

Now THERE’S an original idea!

Regarding the little argument going on about JL and the bullpen. I agree with you Rich. Regardless of whether the fault was on the starter for not going beyond 3 innings, once he fails, Leyland has to anticipate the possibility of an extra inning game or just a long high scoring one. He could have gone with Marte early or he just should allow the relievers to go a little longer especially when they were having success. Stretch them out. Instead he burns them early and ends up with his closer and two rookies left in an extra inning game. Yeah he went with his best option, but it shouldn’t have come to that.

Well. I think valverde absolutely ruined last nights game with little league throwing error. That was yesterday. Im sure he feels awfull. Today you have to build from it. Have valverde take fielding practice. Nothing is going to improve without practice. Besides it helps to get those bad thoughts about yesterday out of his head. Everybody has an awfull day or two. His was bad. I was there. But its better to work through that now than in the world series like in 06 when the tigers pitchers couldnt field anything they touched. Handle that fielding issue now with pitchers taking fielding practice.

What the Rockies lack in pitching, they almost make up for with a pretty impressive offense. They look like they can put a lot of pressure on pitchers. Gonzalez is obviously a tremendous young player. 5 tool as they say.

González was part of a feat for venezuelan baseball. Back to back batting titles. First him then Cabrera, won the title.

Bottom line to it all…Dombrowski has a poorly constructed team. Too many fringey below replacement level players with the true stars; Cabrera and Fielder…Jackson a rising star, Dirks played well before the achilles problem,
Boesch, Young, Raburn are all offensive hacks and poor defensively, despite a nice play here and there by any of them. All defensive metrics point this out, Tigers FRAA fielding runs above average, Defensive runs efficiency has them at the very bottom of the league. Think of how many 4/5/6 out innings the starters and relievers have with the lack of range infield and outfield, along with hands of stone. I can’t help but think when Kaline watches the outfielders muff an easy catch or take a horrible route to a fly he face palms.
This team needs more players that can and want to grind out at bats, swing at strikes and not chase pitches down at their ankles or a foot or two off the outside corner.

I do believe that Ron V. has hit the nail on the head in terms of a succinct summary of the issues facing this team: lack of ability to manufacture runs and overall below-average fielding ability, both of which are results of the current composition of this team (from the owner, GM and coaches on down). I do not foresee any situation in which they make it past the second round of the playoffs this year, if they do in fact make the playoffs at all…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 215 other followers