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Jose Valverde has a correction coming

Read my column in the Detroit News

Leon Halip

I was set to write that Papa Grande Jose Valverde was doing enough. Your closer doesn't have to be your best pitcher, he just has to get the job done. He's probably coming into an inning with no one on the bases and a lead that he should be able to protect. Jose Valverde fits that bill pretty well.

And yet ...

Watching Valverde pitch has required a bit of suspension of disbelief at times. He keeps chucking the same fastballs and batters keep hitting into outs and all is well -- except those five walks in his last five appearances anyway.

As I started to look at the numbers -- small sample size and standard warnings apply here -- there was reason to believe maybe all wasn't so well after all. Batters aren't chasing outside the zone. They are making contact inside the zone. They're still hitting line drives at the same 22 percent rate. Yet they're making outs nearly every time the ball is put in play -- approximately 19 out of 20 times, which even the most optimistic fan would admit doesn't seem realistic.

Valverde can still alter his course. But if he doesn't, I see frightening times ahead for our potato friend.