Jose Valverde is in The Best Shape of His Life

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Via our friend Nick Collias comes the translation of an interview Tigers closer Jose Valverde gave to Mañana Deportiva on Dominican radio the other day. Valverde has lost weight.  And he has a nice description of Prince Fielder:

“I lost 40 pounds, because I was very obese.”

“I had to undergo that process because I was overweight. I ate healthily, something that a lot of players don’t do since we eat late, without caring what type of food it is. I hired a chef in order to better care for my food. You can even eat five times a day. The quantity doesn’t matter, but rather the quality.”

“After undergoing that diet process, there’s a change in the field, even during these early training days. My energy is much better. I feel more awake in the practices. It’s a overall change that I’ve given my body, in all senses.

About Prince Fielder: “As we say in the Dominican, Fielder is a block. He’s very strong, muscular. For his size and weight, he runs well. He goes after the ball like a man, not like a boy.”

“He goes after the ball like a man, not a boy.”  I like that. I think I’ll use that in the ATH recaps a few dozen times this year.

Justin Verlander named ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.

“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”

Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.

The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.