September 14, 2011
Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander(notes) cruised to his 23rd victory of the season on Tuesday night, shutting the White Sox out over seven innings and continuing his quest for the AL Cy Young Award — not to mention 25 wins.
But it's worth noting that Verlander's overall stats would not look as formidable if not for his six sparkling starts against the Sox, against whom he's 5-1 with a 2.91 ERA and a 40-7 strikeout-walk ratio. He has drank their milkshake (or beer) on a regular basis this season.
Such dominance warrants an election campaign that plays off advertising memes that cross into popular culture. One of my favorites, involving the Dos Equis guy — "The Most Interesting Man In The World" — inspired one fan to combine it with an already legendary AP photo of Verlander from the Tigers' winter caravan.
The fan's original work was a transformation of an image taken by Paul Sancya and it was then posted on the image-sharing site Imgur. "The Most Interesting Pitcher in the A.L.," the hilarious picture was titled.
You can see that the original photo is like Dos Equis Guy meets a coffee-drinking James Bond. Verlander should use it as an engagement photo, once the time comes, because he'll never look cooler.
Nobody has won 25 games since Bob Welch did it for the A's in 1990, and Verlander probably only has two games left to get there. Now, the 25 wins sound nice, but he's got other, better statistics on which to measure his dominance. Verlander leads the AL in ERA (2.36) and innings pitched, and is second to CC Sabathia(notes) of the Yankees in expected Fielding Independent Pitching and Wins Above Replacement.
One of them probably will win the Cy Young. I'd like to see Verlander get it, simply because he doesn't have one yet.