He didn’t pitch Wednesday, but because of who did, Joaquin Benoit might just have become the full-time closer for the Tigers.

Or Bruce Rondon.

Or some kind of committee again.

But the scent of a different direction is in the air.

When Jose Valverde walked off the mound after allowing four runs in the ninth inning of a 13-3 loss to the Orioles — a game that otherwise would have been about the home runs Baltimore hit off losing pitcher Rick Porcello — he had the look of a pitcher unsure if he’ll ever be on the mound again.

“I’m not going to panic about a game he comes into when it’s 9-3,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “That’s not something we need to talk about today.”

But with his head down, shoulders slumped, and no life in his step as he neared the Tigers dugout, Valverde appeared to be totally dejected, so much so that after the game, despite always being one to talk about how well or badly he pitched, he wasn’t at this locker.

Does Valverde fear the worst, being that his time in Detroit might again be done? It would appear he has reason to.

Put into a non-save situation against the Orioles because he needed the work — but needing the work because he wasn’t used in the last one-inning save situation in Minnesota — Valverde could have made life easier with a scoreless inning.

Valverde not only struggled, he was four-run awful, giving up a two-run double to Adam Jones and a two-run home run to Chris Davis, the major-league home run leader who hit an two-run shot off Porcello.

It was the three-run home run in the same inning by Taylor Teagarden, an .042 hitter, that truly irked Porcello, who had pitched better in his last nine starts (4-1, 2.84 ERA) than he did Wednesday.

But, let’s face it, the Teagarden home run should have bothered him.