Tigers right-hander Jose Valverde has been dreadful this postseason, yielding seven earned runs in just 2 1/3 innings. But he wants to participate in the World Series and thinks he is ready to be more effective.
According to beat writer Jason Beck of MLB.com, Valverde made around 20 throws in a simulated game against Tigers minor leaguers on Saturday afternoon at a crowdless Comerica Park and noticed significant improvement with his delivery.
“A lot,” said Valverde. “I open too much. I do too much stuff with my hands. That’s what I’ve been working on the last couple days with [pitching coach Jeff Jones], and now it’s over.”
Phil Coke served as the Tigers’ closer-by-default last round against the Yankees and will probably remain in that role for the Fall Classic. But a refreshed Valverde would be nice for the Detroit ‘pen.
Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.
Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.
The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.
Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.
Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.
There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.
Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.
The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.