Saturday September 24, 2011 1:09 am
Justin Verlander and Jose Valverde anchoring the Detroit Tigers’ pitching staff
Justin Verlander’s getting all of the attention for the AL Cy Young award, and rightly so, but getting overlooked in the discussion is the work of teammate and closer Jose Valverde, who has converted all 47 save attempts this season. In fact, Valverde has earned a save in 13 of Verlander’s 24 victories this season. Put an average closer in place of Valverde and just how many wins do you think Verlander would have instead?
Verlander leads the AL in several pitching categories, both major and minor. It’s almost certain he’ll top the pitching Triple Crown categories. Likewise, Valverde will finish first in a few other categories, including saves, games and games finished. He hasn’t blown a save since Sept. 2, 2010; a streak of 49 that doesn’t quite threaten Eric Gagne’s streak of 84 straight, but it’s much closer than most of the game’s top door slammers have come.
One of the most ridiculous points about Verlander’s season is the fact that at one point, he had a 3-3 record. He was also 12-5 going into his start on July 21. In 12 starts since, he’s 12-0 with a 2.28 ERA and 91 strikeouts. But while he’s pitched at least seven innings in 10 of those starts, he hasn’t completed any of them. Obviously manager Jim Leyland isn’t afraid to go to his bullpen.
When you add Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer to the discussion, Detroit has one of the scariest pitching staffs in baseball, especially in a short series. Unlike many of the other postseason contenders, Detroit will have its rotation set by next Friday. Still, Verlander can get all the praise he wants for his regular season accomplishments, but if the Tigers don’t make it to the World Series, he may just consider it a season lost.
- Related Tags:
- cy young, detroit tigers, eric gagne, jim leyland, jose valverde, justin verlander, major league baseball, mlb, mvp award, rick porcello, sidefeatured, world series
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