DETROIT -- Jose Valverde threw three split-finger pitches during his 30-pitch ninth inning Saturday night. As much as he doesn't want to make an excuse for it, with temperatures dipping into the 40s as the game went on, he didn't have the grip to throw it with any command.
"I can throw my split-finger anytime I want to," Valverde said. "But yesterday, I think it was best [not to throw it that often]."
The three he threw were pretty good. They all went to the Rangers' Josh Hamilton, the last two drawing swings and misses to strand the potential tying run on second base, seal Valverde's fourth save of the year and salvage a doubleheader split with a 3-2 win.
"He's had trouble with his splitter so far this year," catcher Alex Avila said, "but I think he found it, because those were pretty nasty."
It wasn't much in quantity, but for someone who has been trying to get that pitch back, it was a very good sign for quality.
"When it's cold," Valverde said, "every pitch is tough, because your fingers are freezing."