So it's been mentioned that Jose Valverde is throwing a lot of pitches. Is that true? Let's have ourselves a look, shall we?
Valverde has thrown in four games: April 7 vs the Cubs, Apr 12 at STL, Apr 15 at PIT, and last night vs CIN. In only one of those - the G2 win over the Cubs - has Valverde not put anyone on base.
Here's his pitch count:
Apr 7 - 17 pitches for 3 batters faced
Apr 12 - 13 pitches for 4 batters faced
Apr 15 - 16 pitches for 4 batters faced
Apr 17 - 24 pitches for 5 batters faced
70 pitches / 46 for strikes (65.7%) / 4.38 per batter
And in his last two appearances, JV has given up two homers. One didn't really matter, last night's very much did. MLB Gameday says the pitch to Hernandez was a 97mph fastball, but JV left it up and out over the plate, and Hernandez took him opposite field. Equally alarming, Valverde has only managed to get 2 ground balls in his four appearances, compared to 8 fly balls. That's not good when you're a hard-throwing closer - because as we just saw, just get under a 97mph fastball, and it can find itself in the seats.
Is he hurt? I don't know. I remember Billy Wagner saying you didn't have to have a great swing to hit a 100mph pitch very far, so maybe that's in play here. But I'll agree with JJO that Cooper should make the decision on whether or not JV feels good enough to pitch, not JV. You don't want a closer who doesn't want the ball, so it's up to the manager.