A Tale of Two Lynn Hennings


By Jeff Moss
June 12, 2013

We have known for years that Detroit News columnist Lynn Henning is missing a few screws.

The lunatic has demonstrated for decades that his memory makes some Alzheimer’s patients look like Marilu Henner’s.

It is almost like the guy forgets what he posted the minute it gets published in the paper.  The most famous incident occurred when he wrote in 2005 that the Tigers were five-to-ten years away from competing in the AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL.

And then a year later when the team was playing in the WORLD SERIES acted like he never said such a thing.

But this latest 180 takes the cake.  In less than two weeks, Henning has gone from the extreme that Jose Valverde is the elixir for the Tigers bullpen woes to the closer being completely unusable.

I can’t do Henning’s rapid about-face justice, so I will let Lynn tell you in his own words.

Lynn Henning: May 29, 2013

Because of Valverde’s knack for handling the toughest inning in baseball, the ninth, Tigers manager Jim Leyland now has a bullpen that is more functional, more efficient, more trustworthy. He can use his relievers in situations for which they are better suited when Valverde owns the ninth.

Lynn Henning: June 12, 2013

The Tigers have a certified bullpen crisis that is hardly confined to Valverde. They have had back-end issues since Octavio Dotel went down with a bad elbow, which was compounded when Brayan Villarreal and Al Alburquerque could no longer find the strike zone.

Lynn Henning: May 29, 2013

The skipper appreciated something else about Valverde. That he, in the tradition of baseball’s best closers, could forget about a bad game. A closer must have this ability to blank out yesterday’s events and to begin anew.

Valverde still has it.

Lynn Henning: June 12, 2013

The Tigers are low on options, which is why Valverde was allowed to continue even as he began to resemble last October’s arsonist, a beleaguered pitcher who finally was relieved of his closer duties following conflagrations in playoff games against the A’s and Yankees.

Lynn Henning: May 29, 2013

Slumber comes easily these days for Valverde. Peace of mind more regularly visits the Tigers, as well. Each party, as it turned out, needed the other. And both, for now, are prospering.

It is why he (Valverde) can close games with such flair and with such amazing consistency.

Lynn Henning: June 12, 2013

Valverde likely has vanished, for now, as a pitcher the Tigers can deploy.