34-26, 4.5 games up on Cle.
(never mind the bad digital editing in the image above)
Another good win for the Tigers yesterday afternoon, another poor showing for Valverde. Fielder’s bases clearing double put the Tigers in the lead for good, and Ricky P turned in his 3 straight quality start (and 7th in 10 games) to bring his ERA below 9. He’s a fantastic #5 guy.
Remember all that bad luck I talked about that JV is getting? Well Valverde’s getting all of the good luck. His BABIP against this year is .179 and his FIP is 5.62, yet his ERA is only 4.02. Over his last 5 appearances, Valverde has allowed 9 hits and 1 walk in 4 2/3. That’s a 2.14 WHIP. His (mild success) is a fluke and unless he starts throwing his splitter more often, I don’t see anyway for him to remain the closer for much longer.
Today’s replacement starter is Jose Alvarez. To me, bringing up Alvarez instead of using Smyly (who is well rested), signals to me that Smyly is in the long-term plans for the Tigers. If they were hoping to flip him for a reliever, he’d be auditioning today. My guess is still that Porcello will be dealt for a reliever and a prospect in the near future. We can win the Central with Valverde, but we can’t win the AL with him as our closer.
Alvarez is a 24 year old lefty who has been phenomenal so far this year at Toledo.He currnetly leads the International League with 76 strikeouts and ranks second with a 2.42 ERA. Alvarez was signed to a minor league contract last November after 3 years in the Red Sox farm system. He took steps backwards at ages 22 and 23, which is why Boston let him go. He doesn’t have much time to figure it out, but he’s making strides.
A few notes:
– Walk Miguel Cabrera and get burned. Following Cabrera’s last 15 walks, Fielder is 9-14 with a BB and 13 RBI.
– Great article on Grantland today about Chris Davis and the adjustments he’s made. Chris Davis is fascinating to me stemming from his time in Texas, but he looks to be Miggy’s early season MVP co-candidate.
Today’s Series Sweeping Sunday Lineup.
1. Dirks, LF
2. Hunter, RF
3. Cabrera, 3B
4. Fielder, 1B
5. Martinez, DH
6. Kelly, CF
7. Avila, A
8. Santiago, SS
9. Infante, 2B