Jose Valverde is still perfect in save situations this season. The problem is that he has been pretty awful in non-save situations all year long. Tonight, in a non-save situation he was blown out again. After an 8 pitch 10th inning, Valverde gave up a double to Josh Hamilton on the very first pitch of the 11th. After striking out the next hitter, the Tigers elected to intentionally walk Adrian Beltre to pitch to Mike Napoli in hopes of inducing a double play.
Napoli promptly laced a single to center to score Hamilton and give the Rangers a 4-3 lead with two runners on and only one out. Nelson Cruz blasted the first pitch he saw from Valverde into the Tiger bullpen for a 3-run homer (he's hit 4 homers in the ALCS) and all of a sudden it's 7-3 Rangers. That's how it would stay as Ranger closer Neftali Feliz mowed down the Tigers 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 11th. The Tigers now trail 3 games to 1 in the ALCS and need to find a way to win 3 straight over Texas to get to the World Series. This game started out good for Detroit, as the Tigers led 2-0 early after Miguel Cabrera doubled to drive home both runs. Rick Porcello pitched a pretty solid game, going 6 plus innings but surrendered three runs to the Rangers who led 3-2 when Porcello left the game. Brandon Inge tied it up at 3 in the 7th with a solo homer off Alexi Ogando. The Tigers couldn't score any more, and that set things up for the Valverde meltdown in the 11th. Today's game was scheduled to start at 4:19, but was delayed over two hours by rain. Game 5 is scheduled for 4:19 tomorrow at Comerica Park. Justin Verlander will pitch for the Tigers and hope to keep Detroit's chances in the ALCS alive. If the Tigers win, Game 6 will be Saturday in Texas. Game 7 (if needed) would be Sunday in Texas. It's not impossible, but the Tigers have their work cut out for them. A couple of miracles would be helpful.