Well that was a wild game one.
Besides the Yankee’s captain Derek Jeter fracturing his ankle, the next biggest story is what to do about Tigers closer Jose Valverde, who gave up two two-run home runs in the 9th, blowing two leads for the Tigers. Here is what Tigers manager Jim Leyland said after game one. From The Detroit News:
“We haven’t really made any decisions,” explained Leyland, who left Valverde in the game even after a leadoff single by Russell Martin and Ichiro Suzuki’s home run cut the Tigers lead to 4-2. “We want to put our heads together and discuss it first, and get together as a coaching staff and talk about it.”
Well, in my opinion I think Valverde may have made the decision for himself with last night’s performance. He obviously was not throwing his splitter correctly and it cost him with his control. He threw the ball where you are not supposed to when facing a left-handed hitter like Ichiro: down and inside. They love pitches in that zone and Raul Ibanez showed why as well. He got a enough of one to send it into the right-center field seats to tie the game at four.
Although the Tigers ended up picking up their teammate and ultimately won 6-4 in 12 innings, I feel along with a lot of other people, Valverde has thrown his last pitch as a Detroit Tiger. I really believe that. I think this postseason was a very good chance for him to prove that he could still be reliable in the closer role. The game in Oakland was a blown save but last night’s game was not. He had an even bigger lead and in a non-save situation, which I hate Leyland for doing that with him. However, it is the postseason and if you can’t mentally prepare because you don’t have a 3 run or less lead, then you should not be in the game at all. The club has an option on Valverde for next season, and after yesterday’s, I don’t think they will pick it up. Tiger fans I truly believe that you have seen the last of “Papa Grande” and his dancing in a Tigers uniform. If not, then it will no doubt be a eerie sight to see.