Detroit Tigers Won't Win the AL Pennant Without Jose Valverde in 2011 Form

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Detroit Tigers Won't Win the AL Pennant Without Jose Valverde in 2011 Form
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

In 2011, Jose Valverde was nearly perfect.

In his first year with the Detroit Tigers, he flawlessly stabilized the back end of the bullpen. He converted 49 saves in 49 chances and was named an American League All-Star.

Valverde had a 2.24 ERA in 72.1 innings (75 appearances) last season—striking out 69 batters and walking 34—helping the Tigers win their first division title since 1987.

The Tigers' Cy Young and MVP award winner, Justin Verlander, thanked Valverde during his MVP acceptance speech for his exceptional work.

Valverde was named the 2011 Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Year—an honor given to the league's most outstanding relief pitcher—and was expected to have similar success in 2012.

But so far this season, Valverde hasn't come close to matching his efforts from a year ago.

In 15.2 innings in 16 appearances this season, Valverde has a 4.60 ERA, has already blown two saves and walked 11 of the 72 batters he's face.

While Valverde is struggling to find his control, the rest of the Tigers haven't picked up his slack and have stumbled out to a disappointing 17-18 start.

The Tigers are in extreme trouble if Valverde doesn't return to 2011 form.

Here are the five reasons Detroit has no chance to advance to the World Series if Valverde continues to struggle:

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