COMMENTARY| Justin Verlander's one inning of hideous pitching Tuesday night during the 2012 MLB All-Star Game at Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City was very un-Justin Verlander-like.
The defending American League MVP and Cy Young winner has been lights out for the majority of the season for the Detroit Tigers. However, his showing during the Midsummer Classic was anything but All-Star worthy. Beat up from the get-go, Verlander was given the loss after the National League's 8-0 victory, which got a healthy boost by way of a five-run first inning.
What was going on with Verlander? What happened to the pitcher baseball fans have come to know and respect for his dazzling arsenal and stingy ways on the mound? Verlander gave up four hits, five earned-runs and walked two, resulting in a 5-0 deficit after his first, and only, inning of play.
Surely there is an explanation for all of this. And a good one, too. Blame it on Kate Upton, who reportedly spent at least Thursday and Friday with -- or in close proximity to -- Verlander. The 20-year-old bikini model obviously had some type of negative impact on Verlander's pitching. That's the only way to explain it. Clearly, she stole his mojo.
"That's why I don't try to throw 100 (mph) in the first inning," Verlander said during a post-game interview. "Usually doesn't work out too well for me."
No. That's not it. Verlander has thrown 100 mph early in games during his career. I can't remember a game when he gave up five earned-runs in one inning. He's hardly even given up five earned-runs in six-plus innings of work.
I'm clearly kidding about the Upton jinx. A mere mortal couldn't have affected Verlander in such a manner. He's not human. He's impervious to that sort of stuff, right? But if you saw a photo of Upton, you'd soon know that she may hold the power to make even a pitching machine like Verlander have a bad night.
Hopefully she consoles him after what was one of the worst innings in All-Star game history. She owes him at least that much. Whatever she did to Verlander must be undone -- and quickly.
Adam Biggers has followed Major League Baseball for over 20 years, specifically the Detroit Tigers. He can be found on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.
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