After entering with the Tigers down 6-1, embattled ex-closer Jose Valverde retired one of the five Giants he faced in Game 1 of the World Series. He struck out Tim Lincecum before giving up hits to the top four hitters in the San Francisco lineup.
Since Joaquin Benoit bailed him out from there, he was charged with only two runs.
Valverde’s struggles tonight make it likely that the Tigers are going to play the rest of the World Series with a 24-man roster. For all the talk about how he’d fixed his mechanical problem, he’s now given up nine runs and 11 hits over 1 2/3 innings in his last three appearances.
The Tigers could claim that Valverde is hurt and then replace him on the roster. Such a move would be met with skepticism, though, and as loose as MLB tends to be with it’s DL rules, it seems unlikely that the league would just let this one slide.
With Valverde essentially out of the mix, usual No. 5 starter Rick Porcello might get some work in close games during the World Series. He faced just one batter in the Tigers’ first nine postseason games, that coming in the Game 3 loss to the A’s.
While newly-acquired talent Danny Espinosa was off collecting hits for the Blue Jays against the Orioles, Marcus Stroman led a youth-filled roster against the Canadian Junior National Team in a split-squad game on Saturday. In the eighth inning, 17-year-old Canadian pitcher Braden Halladay took the mound to honor his late father’s memory against his former team.
Halladay accomplished just that, wielding a fastball that topped out in the low-80s and setting down a perfect 1-2-3 inning against the top of the lineup. No one batter saw more than a single pitch from the right-hander: Mc Gregory Contreras and Mattingly Romanin flew out to the outfield corners and Bo Bichette laid down a ground ball for an easy third out.
MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm has a fantastic profile of the high school junior, including his approach to the game and his attempt to do Roy Halladay proud while carving out his own path to the majors. “From a pitching standpoint, it was everything I could have asked for and more,” Halladay told reporters. “Especially now, every time I make mistakes, I still hear him drilling me about them in my head, just because he’s done it so many times before. From a mind-set standpoint, I don’t think with any bias that I could have had a better teacher.”