Tigers take out Twins 7-1: Justin Verlander wins 18th game, reaches 200 strikeouts

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 16: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the third inning while playing the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park on August 16, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)


Final - 8.16.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota Twins 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 7 0
Detroit Tigers 0 0 2 0 3 2 0 0 X 7 15 0
WP: Justin Verlander (18 - 5)
LP: Nick Blackburn (7 - 10)

Complete Coverage >


BOX

KEY STAT A

Justin Verlander crossed the 200 strikeout barrier.

Via MLB.com's Jason Beck:

200th K for Verlander gives him 3 straight seasons with that mark, longest streak for #Tigers since Mickey Lolich 6 straight from 1969-74.

KEY STAT B

Verlander has18 wins on the season.

Verlander is the first in MLB to reach the 18 win plateau, moving to 18-5 on the season. The next closest in the AL is C.C. Sabathia with 16 wins, the most in the NL is 15, by both Roy Halladay and Ian Kennedy.

Say what you will about the win stat (doesn't show the true worth of a pitcher, other peripherals are more important), lots of old school Cy Young voters look at the W/L record first and foremost. Meaning Verlander is one more win closer to the Cy Young, and should get some MVP consideration...though winning the MVP, which has become a position player award, is a long shot at best.

KEY STAT C

Verlander is 14-3 after a Tigers defeat.

It's a cliche, but I have to say it. Look in the encyclopedia under "Stopper" and you'll find a picture of Verlander.

KEY PLAY

Not that there was a true key play in a win the Tigers dominated throughout, but I'll give it to Miguel Cabrera's two RBI single with two out in the 3rd. 

When Austin Jackson was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Delmon Young's ground ball, it appeared a possible rally would fizzle out. Despite 1st base being open, the Twins elected to pitch to Cabrera. He then lined a Nick Blackburn pitch off his shoe tops for a line single up the middle, giving the Tigers and Verlander all the runs they would need.

If you decide to pitch to Cabrera, be prepared to pay a high price.

KEY THOUGHTS

Phil Coke took over for Verlander with two on and two outs in the 8th, after a Justin Morneau single plated the Twins only run. Coke threw one pitch to Jason Kubel, and got a can of corn to left, ending the inning. When FSD cut to Coke strolling off the mound, I swear he looked for all the world, as the kids say, LIKE A BOSS. Seriously, when Coke is effective in relief, it goes a long way toward solidifying an often iffy Tigers' pen

Ramon Santiago, power hitter? Apparently so, as Razor hit a solo home run in the 6th, his 2nd in three days. He just missed another in the 8th, drilling a double off the wall in left center.

Victor Martinez's bat is too valuable to the Tigers to lose, so he continues to play, and play well, despite a bad knee which is visibly impairing him. So in the 5th inning, why did Gene Lamont send Martinez, who can barely run, home from 2nd on Jhonny Peralta's single to left? Not a smart decision, as he was going to be a dead to rights at the plate. Luckily the Twins butchered the relay, and Martinez scored. But it's was a risk which should not have been taken.

Alex Avila continues to have an August for the ages. Four plate appearances, two singles, two walks, one RBI and another full game behind the plate. Avila best keep eating his Wheaties, as Jim Leyland has admitted there is no day off coming anytime soon. In order to give Avila a break, the Tigers would need to make a roster move for a catcher, and with the current roster crunch, there isn't one in the offing.

With eight more starts scheduled, the sky is the limit for Verlander. But Jim Leyland is giving Velrander an extra day of rest, meaning he won't pitch in the upcoming series with the Indians. Verlander, freak of nature that he is, says he's willing to pitch the series finale, despite leading the AL in innings pitched, pitches thrown and games started. Regardless, Leyland is sticking to his guns. So no Verlander against the Tribe. Speaking of douchebag teams...

The 2nd place Tribe and 3rd place White Sox are playing a three game series As I write this post, the Sox hold a 7-6 lead in the 8th inning of game one. At least the Tigers will gain ground on one team tonight.

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