Detroit took a recent, short trip to their past to find Jose "Papa Grande" Valverde to fix their closer woes.
The Tigers didn’t need to see him long in minor-league rehab work before bringing him back to Detroit, and he didn’t disappoint in his first appearance on Wednesday against Kansas City, as he earned a save.
On Friday, Annibal Sanchez struck out 17 batters with no walks to break Mickey Lolich’s strikeout record and serve notice that the Tigers are deep in starting pitching, too, with Max Scherger often out-pitching Justin Verlander so far, this season.
The Tigers will host Minnesota for three games starting today before a four-game road trip to Houston.
Joining the Tigers in having a good week were the Cubs, who won three straight and watched John Gregg get three saves. The Cubs even got good news on the rehab front with Matt Garza and Kyuki Fujikawa on the injury comeback trail in the minors.
The Cubs will host the Padres for four games today through Thursday before hosting the Reds for three games Friday through Sunday.
The Reds got a 1-0 victory behind Todd Frazier’s long homer and Mat Latos finally getting his first win of the season. Cincinnati had an 8-2 homestand thanks to superb pitching. The Reds had a 1.91 ERA in that time.
But the bad news is Cincinnati’s road record was 1-8 as of Sunday, and they were one-hit in back-to-back losses in Washington. The club now must travel to St. Louis for three this week (today through Wednesday) before Friday through Sunday playing the Cubs.
The White Sox snapped a three-game losing streak to (whom else?) Cleveland before beating up on Tampa Bay at home.
This week, the ChiSox travel to Texas for three, Tuesday through Thursday before continuing the road trip in Kansas City on Friday through Sunday.
And the Tribe had trouble getting games in with rain wiping out one game in Chicago and one in Kansas City that was made up Sunday. Tonight, Cleveland ends its series with the Royals before coming back to C-town for three with the Phillies (led by ex-manager Charlie Manuel) and Friday-Sunday with the Twins visiting Progressive Field.
Charlie was well-liked during his time coaching and managing the Tribe, but he may face the same conclusion to his tenure in Philadelphia as he did with the Indians (getting fired). That’s baseball.