Wednesday, July 11, 2012

On the Detroit Tigers Justin Verlander and the All Star Game

Justin Verlander is the best pitcher in baseball, and he has, without question, been recognized as such.
Being the first pitcher in nearly two decades to be named Most Valuable Player spoke volumes in that regard. He has gotten his share of commercial endorsements since. Seems like he is pretty good friends with Kate Upton. Doesn't get any more big-time than that, eh?
But Verlander hasn't been his best on the biggest stage.
The All Star Game is nothing more than a gloried exhibition game. I realize that. But it is literally the only thing going in the sports world during a four-day period in the middle of summer. While the game is lacking genuine importance (despite the ridiculous, contrived "Bud Selig Rule" that dictates the winning league gets home field advantage in the World Series), the stage couldn't be bigger. The fact Verlander was hammered for five runs Tuesday did mean something from that stand point.
Of more importance in actuality, but also on the so-called "big stage," is that in eight postseason starts,  Verlander is 3-3 with a 5.57 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) - all well-above his career norms.
Ultimately, this could mean little, and while Verlander will deservedly get a lot of slack in this town - especially about the All Star Game - there will be whispers nationally he is overrated despite his 100 mph fastball and undeniably spectacular numbers overall.
That's because when most people nationally have seen Verlander pitch, he hasn't been anywhere near at his best.

2008 or 2011? The Tigers split the difference in the first half of 2012. My column on where the Tigers stand at the All Star Break:


Blogger Fred Brill said...

Book - I was dissapointed for JV last night - not in - but for him.

Verlander's MO has always been a slow start and strong finish - and when he has a bad first - he shuts them down the rest of the way - but no such chance in an all star game.

But Fielder and Cabrera did a good job of showing why Tigers in 3rd not 1st in ALC - Fielder's shoulda-been-an-error on Jeeter's short hop throw cost a run - and Cabera's timely hit into a double-play.

Add to that long fly balls that you think are gouing out until the outfileder parks on the warning track to gently catch the long pop fly.

Put our three all stars together and you have 3rd place in ALC.

Your column's breakdiown of the second half was really good - but one thing is for certain - how we think it will be in October now will not be how things wind up - all those unknowns - the aquisitions and injuries and streaks and slumps all across the AL will make us look at our words on this day and wonder "what were we thinking?"

1:12 PM 

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