Central intelligence

  • Updated: May 18, 2013 - 9:22 PM

Managers normally bring their closers into tied games at home in the ninth inning because there is no longer a need for a closer if the home team scores in the bottom of the inning.

The Tigers no longer will do that with Jose Valverde. Nine of Valverde’s 12 losses have come when he’s entered tied games at home.

“I don’t like to use Valverde in a tied game at home, even though I’ve done it several times, because it doesn’t seem to be his forte,” manager Jim Leyland said Thursday. “It hasn’t seemed to work out too good. I might try to eliminate that.”

• • •

After taking two of three from the Twins, the White Sox were 17-21, the same record they had a year ago when they won 13 of their next 14 to rise to first place in the division and compete for the title before a late fade.

So the White Sox are hoping for the same turnaround. But with a terrible offense — on pace to score 580 runs entering the weekend — there are concerns they just won’t get it done.

Second baseman Gordon Beckham, however, is close to returning now that he’s nearly recovered from a broken hand. And pitcher John Danks is on the rehab trail following surgery.

• • •

Royals designated hitter Billy Butler raised his batting average 40 points, from .228 to .268, in three games against the Angels. His nickname is Country Breakfast. Does that mean he’s scrambling to raise his batting average?

... I’ll show myself out.

• • •

Cleveland is 11-4 this month and feeling like contenders. Carlos Santana is back to being the offensive force he can be, Mark Reynolds is providing power and even Ubaldo Jimenez is trying to live up to the hype after being traded there from Colorado. The Indians recently went 4-3 in seven games against the Tigers, Yankees and Phillies.

LA VELLE E. NEAL III

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