So what was that delivery from Jose Valverde?
Statistically, Jose Valverde has had games like this before. There was the game in Cleveland last month, in which he gave up two runs on three hard hits. There was the three-run ninth inning against the Royals in July.
Mechanically, it was a different Valverde than any version we’ve seen in Detroit.
His delivery looked pretty normal, certainly by today’s standards. His mechanics to get into a position to deliver, though, looked unlike anything he had done here. His back, which he usually stretches a little as he gets into position to throw, arched more before he threw his early pitches. At times, he looked like he was undulating before he went into his delivery.
Whether that had any part in his demise Wednesday is up for debate, no doubt. Even if it didn’t, it just looked odd for him. For someone who has had back issues — he missed time in May with a strained lower back — it was something to pay attention.
Valverde, for his part, said he did nothing different.
“Everything’s the same,” Valverde said. “I think it was the same. I threw my fastball, my sinker, my split. You have to give credit to the other team. There’s nothing you can do.”
Avila said, “He’s fine,” when asked about Valverde. It doesn’t necessarily mean he was the same, but he was fine doing it.
Indeed, if Valverde was having serious back trouble, one would figure it would be more obvious. Still, this late in the year, it’s an interesting development.