SAN FRANCISCO — Jose Valverde started the postseason with a scoreless inning and a save against Oakland. Since then, his ERA is 48.60.
No more explosive fastball. Instead, his ERA seems to be rising exponentially.
Valverde was hit hard by the San Francisco Giants in his return to the mound Wednesday night, allowing two runs while getting only one out during the Detroit Tigers’ 8-3 loss in Game 1 of the World Series.
“He wasn’t terrible. He just wasn’t good,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said.
After allowing a pair of two-run homers in the ninth inning against the Yankees in the AL championship series opener, Valverde was put on ice by the Tigers. He worked on his motion during his 10-day layoff, trying to speed his legs. With the Tigers trailing 6-1, Valverde relieved to start the seventh. He struck out Tim Lincecum, then allowed Angel Pagan’s double to right followed by a two-hop RBI single from Marco Scutaro on a 94 mph pitch. The seeing-eye hit went between third baseman Miguel Cabrera and shortstop Jhonny Peralta.
Pablo Sandoval singled to center, completing a 4-for-4 night with three homers and four RBIs, and Buster Posey sliced a 92 mph pitch into right field for another run-scoring single. That finished Valverde after 18 pitches.
“This is what happens when you play the best team in the National League,” Valverde said.