Monday, June 27, 2011

Breakout Season?

Good News/Bad News: Justin Verlander is better than ever

If it’s possible for one of the game’s best pitchers to have a “breakout” season, Justin Verlander is having his.

Before this year, it wasn’t a shock to look at an average fan’s list of top five pitchers and not see Verlander. It’s not that baseball people didn’t consider him one of the best, but he’s never been a household name and has always seemed to pitch under the radar.

That’s all changed this season.

Good News

Pure dominance: For some reason – maybe because he plays in Detroit or doesn’t have a flashy delivery – it’s been easy to overlook the Tigers ace. But Verlander is putting together what could easily end up as the best season of his six full major league years, and what he did Saturday night further exemplified why he is baseball’s best pitcher this season.

Verlander toyed with the Arizona Diamondbacks in his last start, lighting up the radar gun with a fastball that got into triple digits, using a devastating curveball and dropping the bottom out of his other pitches, leaving Arizona’s hitters baffled and helpless. Verlander struck out a career-high 14 and scattered four hits over eight innings and probably would have thrown his third consecutive complete game had he not already used 119 pitches.

“He’s nasty,” Diamondbacks outfielder Gerardo Parra said. “He’s got everything. And in the eighth inning he threw 100 (mph) and 98 and 99.

The rest of the article here.

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