Worried about Valverde? You bet I am.

It’s never a good sign when the closer is limping around the mound while attempting to close out a game. Valverde logged the save Sunday but then hobbled into the clubhouse, hobbled toward his locker and did everything in his power not to put any pressure on that bum leg. Not good.

Then, when I asked him how he was feeling, he said, “I’m not ready yet. I don’t feel 100 percent, but I have to support my team.”

This is alarming, because Valverde is the type of pitcher who will play through anything and swear up and down, left and right that he’s totally fine, because the competitor in him is telling him he’s fine even if he’s not totally fine. For him to come right out and say, in essence, “I’m not fine” is worrisome. He must be in some kind of pain.

So we’ll see what happens this week in Cincinnati. The bullpen is beat up after throwing 10 innings in the last two days, so not having a fully healthy Valverde could be a big, big problem this week.

________________

Russ Ortiz has to be more efficient if he’s going to be a part of this rotation. He threw 97 pitches on Sunday and got through only five innings. That’s not good enough, and he’s fully aware of that.

“There were times today where I made pitches early in the count and they swung and got out in three or four pitches,” he said after the win over the Brewers. “That was the whole goal — get some outs as soon as possible — obviously, not throwing pitches right down the middle of the plate — but making quality pitches early and that was the goal. These [Brewers] hitters, I think they know me, that I’m going to throw a lot of pitches and they’re laying off some pretty close pitches. I just keep plugging away and I’m not going to change anything. Certain hitters, I need to do a better job of getting ahead early.”

That said, Ortiz understood the importance of winning that final game with the Brewers. The homestand was already a disappointment, but a sweep by the Brewers would have been brutal.

“I think everybody in this clubhouse knew we had to win,” Ortiz said. “It was a must-win game today. Those are games I love to pitch in, because I’ve always felt like I want to be a go-to guy. I want to be a guy that can stop something or that can keep something going. I want these guys to know that when I’m going out, we have a really good shot at winning. Today, I knew it was an important game. That’s what Pudge and I talked about. We needed to win this game.”

Alyson Footer is on Facebook and Twitter

8 Comments

This may sound critical, but Coop has to shoulder some of the blame for the bullpen being in such disarray. Yes, there are injuries, I understand that, but take today for example; Ortiz could have taken that 6th inning, or at least tried. Coop needs to be willing to extend the starters at times for the sake of the bullpen. Because of the off-day on Thursday, Ortiz might not pitch again until next week Wednesday or so. Nine days of rest. Coop needs to ask Ortiz for another inning, another 20 or so pitches in a in a situation like today, otherwise the bullpen is going to be decimated come the All-Star break.

Russ Ortiz is 34 years old as well as coming off major surgery, so having him throw a 100 pitches every outing isn’t a very good idea. The offense didn’t give Ortiz the lead until the 4th inning and that was only by a run, which doesn’t give him much room to work with. If the offense can give the pitchers more room to work with you’ll see the pitchers being more efficient since they’ll be able to pitch to contact.

Russ Ortiz is 34 years old as well as coming off major surgery, so having him throw a 100 pitches every outing isn’t a very good idea. The offense didn’t give Ortiz the lead until the 4th inning and that was only by a run, which doesn’t give him much room to work with. If the offense can give the pitchers more room to work with you’ll see the pitchers being more efficient since they’ll be able to pitch to contact.

I agree that Cooper goes to the bullpen too fast. I’ve been complaining about this in the last week – I can think of two fairly recent games where Cooper pulled an effective starting pitcher from the game in the 6th and the bullpen promptly lost the game. I heard Brown or JD say on yesterdays’ broadcast that the Astros bullpen leads the entire major leagues in innings. That is not all the fault of the starting rotation!

Regading Ortiz’ comments that the game was a, “must-win”, that they “needed to win” – I’m glad they understood this and did actually win but I can’t help but think they need this attitude EVERY GAME, not just when trying to save face in an already lost series/homestand. No wonder this team always starts so poorly and only turns it on at the end of the season. They should consider the first game of the series a “must-win” game.

Okay, let me state for the record, I am one of the biggest Puma fans on the planet.

But at what point do you move him out of the 3 hole until he rebounds? If you think about all those one run games we lost, I can’ t help but think that with an additional hit here or there out of the 3 hole we win some of those games. Or do you at least give him an additional day off? It just seems like Coop could do something to maybe help him out. We could put Tejada there for the time being until Puma gets his growl back, any thoughts?

I was glad to hear that Russ got a win against the Dodgers. I’m a Giants fan/Russ fan. Glad to see him help the Giants by getting a W over the hated Dodgers. lol

~ King of Cali
http://kingofcali.mlblogs.com/

Alyson, wow you were sure right to be worried about Valverde, based on the latest news. I hope he doesn’t take any longer than 3 weeks to be available again. But we shall see….

I know Valverde is a gamer, but did he cost himself a longer DL stint by trying to play through the injury? You probably can’t answer that, and I’m really just killing time while we wait out another rain delay. You can’t have enough of those, can ya? I bet you can answer that question. ;) Last night’s rain delay was just bizarre. Cox even joined in the fun with a pitching change. They were all prolonging the agony if you ask me.

On Moehler’s game in Midland: No, the wind is not your friend here in the Permian Basin. It can make your golf game interesting as well.

http://stonebutch99.mlblogs.com/

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