Obviously humbled by his own performance in Game 4 of the ALDS and a devastating loss for the team, Detroit Tigers closer Jose Valverde reportedly answered every question sent his way by reporters. He was being a stand-up guy. But, as the audio above shows, his confidence wasn't affected in the least. He told reporters, including CSN Bay Area:
"Hey, man. All my teammates support me. Everybody's looking forward to tomorrow and, I know, 100 percent, my team's going to win tomorrow."
Tigers fans have to love hearing it (even if they might not want to see Valverde pitch again in the series). A lot of fans of other teams find themselves turned off by Valverde's mound antics. The fist-pumping, the primal screaming, the gyrations. But his colorful act amuses me, as do his funny goggles, odd shape, sharp sense of humor and accidental nickname — "Papa Grande" or "Big Potato."
I feel likewise about Grant Balfour, the closer for the A's. He doesn't wear goggles, though, and his shape is average. But he does have a fun personality, which helps us all get through the 162-plus-game grind. Or should, if we'd let it.
Of course, Valverde's presentation went much more smoothly when he was going 49 for 49 in save opportunities in 2011.
But as any Sabermagician would tell you, save percentage can be a misleading measure of a pitcher's effectiveness. And it's a horrible predictor of the future, which is why it's not too surprising that Valverde has blown six saves this season, including Game 4 on Wednesday night. Bad nights are going to happen. The key is minimizing them and coming back tomorrow. Valverde sounds ready to do just that.