The good news is the Detroit Tigers have won the America League pennant and are headed to the World Series for the 11th time in franchise history. The somewhat bad news is much like 2006 the Tigers will have an extended break before the final frame of the 2012 playoff begins. The Fall Classic is set to begin next Wednesday night. Of course that leaves plenty of time to discuss the issues facing this team.
Number one on that list may just be what to do with Joe Valverde. There is no question he cannot be trusted with the closers role any longer. Phil Coke has done a masterful job in that role earning two saves, and being on the mound for the final out in three of the four wins. Manger Jim Leyland trusted Coke with the 8th and 9th inning twice and Coke delivered.
‘We’ll play it by ear’ is exactly what Leyland said about the closer situation heading into Game 4 of the ALCS last night and, while there was no save situation to be had thanks to the Tigers blowing out the Yankees, for the third straight game it was Coke on the mound for the final out..
Valverde’s record in the post season is not very good. He has allowed 14 runs in 14 career post season innings pitched and has a playoff ERA of 8.79. Valverde has yet to pitch in a World Series, but his 54.00 ERA from the ALCS and 16.20 ERA in the ALDS may keep him off the World Series roster entirely.
Leyland will also have to take into consideration the fact that when the Tigers suit up to play Game One of the 2012 Fall Classic it will have been 11 days since Valverde threw in a game situation. That above anything else maybe the deciding factor here.