Justin Verlander's outing tonight is, obviously, alarming. He showed signs of turning it around in his previous three outings, and tonight has definitely been a setback. There is a perception Verlander's problems are velocity related, that he has thrown so many pitches down through the years, that he has used up his quota, so to speak. I don't agree with that. If you look at this game tonight, his biggest problem is his off speed pitches aren't crisp at all. His changeup used to be one of the best in MLB. But now it isn't even a mediocre pitch. It's certainly not something he would use to pitch backward and use to set up his fastball, like he did so often in 2011 and 2012, and during the postseason last year. Also, he throws an inordinate number of hanging breaking balls. His velocity isn't nearly the same issue as location of his fastball. He misses the plate or is down the middle. Also, he needs to pitch more inside. Hitters are diving out over the plate too much. It's all made his pitch pattern more predictable and Dodgers' hitters were all over him in the first inning. Verlander is coming off major off season surgery on his core. It seems to be taking him longer to comeback than it seemed because he returned so quickly in spring training. The good part is there is no sign he has an arm or shoulder injury. I'd still bet he'll turn it around, but it may not be sooner instead of later.
My column. Why there should be no holding back for Dave Dombrowski and the Detroit Tigers: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20140707/why-there-should-be-no-holding-back-for-dave-dombrowski-and-detroit-tigers-pat-caputo-says