Jose Valverde hasn’t pitched since coughing up four runs in two-thirds of an inning against the Yankees on October 13, with Phil Coke emerging as Jim Leyland’s replacement closer choice.
It’s obviously hard to imagine the Tigers turning back to Valverde as closer at this point, but will they even have enough confidence to use him at all in the World Series?
“I don’t know what’s going to happen from this point on,” Leyland said, via Jason Beck of MLB.com. “Obviously, a lot of people are going to be saying, ‘Save with Coke’ now, but we will play it by ear.”
“We’ll play it by ear” is exactly what Leyland said about the closer situation heading into Game 4 of the ALCS last night and, while there was no save situation to be had thanks to the Tigers blowing out the Yankees, for the third straight game it was Coke on the mound for the final out.
Valverde has allowed 14 runs in 14 career playoff innings and by not getting any mop-up work he’ll have gone 11 days without pitching when the World Series begins Wednesday.