Tigers closer concerns: Can Jose Valverde be trusted?

Detroit Tigers fans are hopeful, but nervous about pitching

DETROIT - Detroit Tigers fans are hopeful, but nervous about Thursday night's game against the Oakland Athletics.

Their concern is the up and down performance of Tigers' closer Jose Valverde.

"I was watching and we were up three to one and I saw Valverde and I said, ‘I'm done,'" said Tigers fan Dan Voran of Flat Rock. "He blew it like he does every time."

Despite the criticism from fans, Tigers' Manager Jim Leyland said Velverde will continue to be the team's closer. Many baseball fans said they respectfully disagree.

"He knows more about baseball than me, but I just totally disagree," said Tyler Ward, a Tigers fan from Woodhaven.

Former Tigers' pitcher John Hiller said getting those last three outs are not as easy as it looks.

"Anybody who goes a whole year without blowing a save is fantastic," said Hiller, who for many years held the Tigers' record for saved games.

Hiller also said it looks like Valverde isn't pitching as well as he did earlier in the year. "He's had to pretty much depend on his fast ball which is 93-94 (miles per hour) which is

Nothing exceptional in this day and age," Hiller said.

As for the decision to stick with Valverde, Hiller said he understands that, too, "I don't think they have another person in the bullpen that can come out there and be in that position. It just takes a different mentality (to be a closing pitcher)."

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