Good night, Jose Valverde. Parting is such sweet sorrow. Mostly for opposing hitters:
This was inevitable. Valverde appeared in 20 games this season. His ERA is sitting at 5.59. He’s got nine saves but three blown saves and two day ago he was lit up like a pinball machine while doing mopup duty in a loss to the Orioles. Jim Leyland had clearly lost confidence in him. Heck, he only turned to him in the first place out of desperation.
It’s hard to see anyone wanting to take a chance on Papa Grande at this point. My guess is that he’ll be released outright by the Tigers in a few days and, at best, get a minor league deal from someone desperate for a live arm. A live arm which throws laser-straight fastballs and walks dudes at the worst possible time.
Because of course he did.
It wasn’t just his first at bat, but it was his first pitch. It came off of John Kilichowski, an 11th round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals out of Vanderbilt. The ball went out to left center, off the bat of the lefty Tebow.
Next time, meat, throw him a breaking ball.
The other night, Blue Jays reliever Joaquin Benoit needed help getting off the field after the second benches-clearing incident with the Yankees. It was later revealed that Benoit tore a calf muscle during the fracas, ending his season.
Yesterday he pointed the finger at just about everyone else for the incidents like the one that led to his injury. Hitters specifically. From The Star:
“I believe as pitchers we’re entitled to use the whole plate and pitch in if that’s the way we’re going to succeed,” Benoit said. “I believe that right now baseball is taking things so far that in some situations most hitters believe that they can’t be brushed out. Some teams take it personally.”
That “take it personally” line is interesting coming from Benoit as, in this instance, it seemed pretty clear that the whole plunking exchange which led to his injury started because Josh Donaldson took an inside pitch that did not seem to be a purpose pitch at all, too personally.
Did Benoit take a veiled swipe at his teammate here? If so, that’s pretty notable. If not it’s notable in another way, right? As it suggests that Benoit believes it’s OK for his teammates to take issue with inside pitches but anyone else who does is part of the problem?
Which is it, Joaquin?