Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Justin Verlander has one more frontier to cross - and it isn't MVP

The Tigers Justin Verlander will be named Cy Young Award winner today as the best pitcher in the American League for 2011. The results of the voting will be released, and it will revealed that Verlander won in a landslide.
He was substantially better than any pitcher in the American League during the regular season. Verlander led the AL in wins (24), ERA (2.40), WHIP (0.920), strikeouts (250) and innings pitched (251). He was the first American League pitcher to win 24 games in a season since Roger Clemens in 1986. It was a brilliant year. The ballots for the Cy Young, and all of baseball's postseasons awards, are due before the start of the playoffs.
And that is where Verlander did not stand out this year, nor previously. Verlander did have a 2-1 record in the postseason, but his ERA in both the American League Division Series against the Yankees and the American League Championship vs. the Rangers was over five. In the ALCS, he averaged less than six innings in his two starts.
Coupled with his performance in the 2006 playoffs, Verlander's postseason numbers are decidedly mediocre: 3-3, 5.57 ERA, 1.548 WHIP.
I maintained, even before last season to the chagrin of many people who disagreed vehemently with me, that I would take Verlander over any starting pitcher in baseball. I still believe he is the best pitcher in the game.
But I freely admit, there is a flaw to that argument. Tim Lincecum, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Chris Carpenter - they've all done much better than Verlander when put on the big stage of the postseason.
Verlander was so dominant during this regular season, he might even be selected AL MVP. I think he deserves it, but he's no Chris Carpenter.
Carpenter's 9-2 with a 3.05 ERA in the postseason - and has two World Series rings because of it.
Isn't that meaningful?


Blogger Fred Brill said...

I hear ya, Book ... BUT ...

Carpenter picthed 237 innings compared to Verlander's 251 - throwing 100 mph into late innings.

Verlander and Avilla are the two mules on this Tiger's roster.

And then there was the freaky rain gods dumping on Verlander's first PS starts.

Carpenter's no Verlander.

12:25 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give him a break - if everything went right for Verlander and the Tigers during the regular season, it seemed like everything went soggy in the playoffs. I don't want to use that as an excuse, but between the rainouts and the injuries ....

12:26 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you understand the concept of sample sizes? With small sample sizes there's so much luck involved that it tells you very little about a player.

3 games does not mean that a guy cannot perform in the playoffs. He just didn't this year.

And talking about him averaging less than 6 innings makes you look like you didn't even watch the games. The only reason that's the case was rain ...

7:17 PM 
Anonymous woody said...

i agree...thing i remember most about his postseason performance was the one game against texas where he was being squeezed by the homeplate ump. you could tell by his demeanor on the mound that he was frustrated and struggled to make the necessary adjustments. he looked like he was feeling the pressure.

with some further maturity of his game, we'll see him handle that type of adversity better.

he seems like the type of guy who'll use those subpar starts as motivation going forward.

11:07 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the homers seem to forget the rain affected the other teams too. JV was the best regular season pitcher but he choked in the playoffs. One more frontier to cross? That would be you Caputo. Admitting when you're wrong.

2:00 AM 

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