Thursday, June 11, 2009

Justin Verlander: Special Talent Turned Special Pitcher

Justin Verlander has always been a special talent. The fastball in the high 90s and touching triple digits. The rare combination of size and athleticism (despite his height, very few pitchers have as quick feet on their pickoff move to first base). The instinctive feel for pitching. The sharp breaking ball and solid changeup.
And he did win 35 games his first two full seasons in the major leagues. But lately, Verlander has become a special pitcher. As good as any in the game special.
He has had trouble in Chicago in the past, but he could get big league hitters out in Williamsport right now. He is that good. Verlander was brilliant Wednesday night. The White Sox didn’t have a chance.
He has been - by far - the Tigers’ MVP so far this season.

Random Thoughts

- One game - Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals - can turn all the disappointment into adulation for two players above all others: Marian Hossa and Sidney Crosby. Their considerable reputations will be literally on the line Friday.

- Orlando played nearly a perfect Game 3 - and still barely beat the Lakers at home. Doubt the Magic will win another game in the series. Then again, I have been underestimating that team the entire playoffs.

My column in Thursday's Oakland Press about the Red Wings:



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait a minute now, while I agree Verlander's run has been spectacular and he is the ace of the staff, Edwin Jackson has been lights out for the Tigers from day one. He deserves just as much MVP consideration. Verlander struggled in April, Jackson has been top notch all season. Edwin Jackson kept this team stable while Verlander was finding himself. Do not short change what Jackson has done. Hats off to Justin and EDWIN!!


8:14 AM 
Blogger Barry said...

Pat, he look like this year Cy Young winner. What baffles me is how the Padres did not select him before the Tigers did in 2004. Why would they take a high school ss over an potential ace that throws 100 m.p.h? That would be like the Nats not drafting Strasburg. I know Bush ran across injuries but still.

9:27 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Couldn't agree more about Verlander, and it seems the national media is taking notice. Did you catch Buster Olney's piece at ESPN this morning? Pretty high praise. If Justin continues pitching anywhere near this level for much of the season, he will be right there in the Cy Young discussion.

Where would this ballclub be without Verlander and Jackson pitching like world-beaters? And when was the last time the Tigers had a duo that was this dominant? I'm only 26, but they're the best duo that I can remember.


10:03 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Agree about Jackson. Has been tremendous from Day One - and he won more games than Verlander last season. But isn't that just splitting hairs? Both have been lights out good.

10:25 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

The Tigers almost didn't take him, either. They were thinking about Homer Baily. Verlander was just 21-18 in college and some thoughts thought he was so raw he would never make it. What the Tigers found once they got him is that he is so athletic, he could adapt easily to coaching. Greg Smith, their scouting director at the time, found hard for the Verlander pick.

10:27 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Yes, and MLB network made a big deal out of him, as well. Cy Young is not out of the question, that's for sure.

10:28 AM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

I don't know book I think Orlando will hold serve at home. So far you have to give the NBA playoffs a hell of a grade as they have been at its best.. I mean that Cleveland Orlando, Boston vs Chicago series all exciting to say the least..

Me personally I am glad to see a game 7. Just as a fan of the game there is nothing more at the edge of your seat then a game 7. I still think the wings are going to do it, but give Pittsburgh a lot of credit as well..

Verlander and Jackson in my mind have been outstanding thus far. I hope Edwin Puts fourth a similar effort tonight as verlander did. It be nice for the bats to give a little bit more support to them. When was the last time the Tigers had 2 guys go for the Cy Young at the same time. At this point you'd have to say both are in the running.. Along with Halladay and Grienke.

11:59 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Rogers and Verlander were a pretty good 1-2 punch in 2006. If Jackson and Verlander combine to win 35 games or so, the Tigers will definitely contend.

1:17 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be very interesting to compare each team's winning percentage (season final) to the number of unintentional walks given up by the team. Think any of those baseball statisticians could oblige ?

11:45 PM 

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