Justin Verlander has been, throughout the entirety of his career, one of the Detroit Tigers most reliable and productive performers. He has been a poised, quiet leader and one of, if not THE, best pitcher in baseball, as proven by last season's recognitions of American League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young award winner.
In his last four starts (Aug. 11-28), consisting of 27.2 innings of work, Verlander has allowed 29 hits, 14 runs, nine walks and 2 homeruns, lending to four straight "no decisions." Now sitting at a record of 12-7, a far cry from his 20 wins at this time last season, the enigma that has become Justin Verlander has an obvious reasoning as to the likely cause of his dramatic reversal of fortune.
Throwing strikes has not been an issue for Verlander. The issue is that he has been consistently throwing the right over the heart of the plate, creating a batting-practice scenario for the opposing lineup. In the last four games, his pitches have been remarkably consistent - down the middle of the plate and lacking any type of worthwhile movement.
In his most recent game, August 28 against Kansas City, Verlander had one of his worst performances of the year, giving up 8 runs on 12 hits in just over five innings of work. He could not, no matter what he attempted to do, keep from getting into trouble. Frankly, he looked horribly unprepared and appeared as if his usual swagger was a distant memory. Many of us who had watched the game were left shaking our heads, wondering what had happened to the Justin Verlander we have all come to know.
As the (usually) most consistent performer on the team, Justin's productivity is paramount to any chance the Tigers have of claiming the American League Central Division crown. With Anibal Sanchez appearing to be a "bust" and Rick Porcello's slow development, an inconsistent Verlander leaves a lot on the shoulders of the oft-injured Doug Fister and streaky Max Scherzer. This is far from the best case scenario the Tigers had hoped for, looking down the pipe at a close pennant race with the Chicago White Sox.
Whatever the reason, Detroit cannot afford for it to last much longer.
The author, D. Benjamin Satkowiak, is a successful entrepreneur and published, freelance author, who has tailored works on various sports, health and fitness topics. He currently serves as a Yahoo! Contributor Network "Featured Contributor" and writes on the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions, Great Lakes Loons and Notre Dame football.
- Sports & Recreation
- Justin Verlander
- Detroit Tigers