Oakland used him for a punching bag the other night–and the Athletics can’t hit!!! I’ve been saying for the past two years that Verlander isn’t even the Tigers’ best pitcher—let alone the best pitcher in either league as his apologists in Detroit would have everyone believe.
His problems (like those of Tiger Woods in majors since 2009, anyway) are entirely in his head. When pitchers get slapped around like he does and give up gopher ball after gopher ball against teams (like Oakland) who aren’t known for hitting them, it’s usually a sign that a pitcher’s fastball lacks movement.
THAT, and poor pitch location. But Verlander’s fastballs still have late movement—and they’re still reaching the plate between 95 and 98 mph—even in the 7th inning or later (if he makes it that far). He seems to make mistakes either in his choice of pitches or in missing spots. But when a pitcher has that much arm strength and movement, missing spots with fastballs ought to result in more walks (as it did with Nolan Ryan in his prime)—NOT more home runs…
The Tigers had better continue hitting—especially on the days when Justin takes the mound, ironically…
Filed under: MLB