What is on the radar is Justin Verlander getting shelled in what was his second straight sub par start.
Verlander has not been his normal, near lights out self in his last two starts. When the best pitcher in baseball over the past few seasons is walking in runs, it catches your attention.
Prior to this past week, Verlander had issued bases-loaded BBs twice (Aug. 31, 2007 and Aug. 31, 2012). Has now done it back-to-back starts— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) May 17, 2013
In what was supposed to be a pitcher's duel, Verlander and Darvish combined to face 16 batters in a 50 minute long third inning, allowing ten runs, throwing 81 pitches. But it was Verlander who took the brunt of the punishment.
Verlander threw 32 fastballs. 12 balls, 5 called strikes, 15 swings. Only 3 swinging strikes and 2 outs. Four hits. Not like him.— Dave Hogg (@Stareagle) May 17, 2013
Verlander was knocked out of his second straight game, unable to pitch out of the third inning? EVERYBODY PANI ... whoa, let's hold on a second.
Two bad starts does not mean Justin Verlander is a washed up bum, has forgotten how to pitch, is hiding an injury or decided to coast after signing the big contract extension. Sometimes great pitchers struggle. Sometimes those struggles last more than one start.
Amazingly, local columnists aren't trolling, but are voices of reason. They need to be, because there is going to be a massive and undue overreaction anytime Verlander doesn't pitch well.
Kidding aside, don't freak out about Verl. He has an ego that can get out of control, but as long as he's not hurt, he'll find his way back— Bob Wojnowski (@bobwojnowski) May 17, 2013
Justin Verlander's outing like Tiger shooting 80, LeBron going 2-for-20 shooting or Brady picked off 5 times. Rare. Sure to be overreaction— Pat Caputo (@patcaputo98) May 17, 2013
Exactly. It happens to the best of them. No one can be at their best in every start. It's impossible. But it also shows how spoiled we've been when shock waves rock the fan base when Verlander is anything less than excellent.
Justin Verlander is coming off the best April of his career. He's throwing in the high 90's. His ERA before these last two bad starts was 1.55 with a WHIP 1.101. In 51 innings before tonight, Verlander had allowed just 11 earned runs all season.
Those are not the warning signs of an irreparably broken pitcher.
As for the elephant in the room, I honestly don't believe Verlander is injured. I have a hard time thinking there's an injured shoulder or elbow involved when he's throwing 97-98 MPH. It has to be mechanics. Hell, I'm sure it's a mechanical issue.
Mechanics can be fixed. As will Verlander, if he's even in need of "fixing." Personally, I'd use the term "tweaking," as that's all Verlander likely needs to do with his game.
Going by what Verlander said to the media in the post game, I'm not worried.
JV on FSD: "I'm not somebody who's gonna go home and pout about this. I'm gonna figure it out, and I'm gonna figure it out in a hurry."— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) May 17, 2013
Anyway, the pitcher's duel never materializing is Kurt's fault. He had a gut feeling the game wouldn't live up to the hype and said as much.
Tonight's Darvish-Verlander meeting certainly deserves the hype, but I fear the baseball gods throwing a wrench into it.— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) May 16, 2013
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:
Ian Kinsler scored the Rangers' first run, but he paid a high price when "sliding" into third. More correctly, Kinsler crashed heavily into third, nearly breaking his face. Click on the picture for the glorious GIF.
Mario Impemba: "Comin' in like a lawn dart!" Rod Allen: "That's a bad slide." No, Rod, it's the worst slide ever. To their credit, Rangers fans gave Kinsler a standing ovation.
Don Kelly going yard against Yu Darvish is proof the Baseball Gods live to troll fans.
Don Kelly - out of nowhere home run Wizard.— DAESOL (@parttimesloth) May 17, 2013
I AM THE FATHER, DON KELLY IS THE SON, AND GENE LAMONT IS THE HOLY SPIRIT, AMEN— Fake Jim Leyland (@FakeLeyland) May 17, 2013
You know it's not your night when Miguel Cabrera is called out on a 5-6-3 deflected ground ball. A ground ball he beat out by half a step.
Jim Leyland was his normal self in the post game, shrugging off Verlander's tough night..
"It didn't turn out too good."
"It's over with and that's the way it goes."
"I won't have to listen anymore about his velocity."
"I'm not worried about him,. the stuff's there."
"I'm sure people expected a lot less runs scored."
If Leyland is at all worried about his ace (which I truly doubt), he's never going to let on to the media.
Apologies for the game thread going up late. We're stilling trying to battle through some major server issues. We very much appreciate your patience. It does look as if the worst is over and the site will be back to running smoothly.
Don Kelly: When Donnie Baseball hits a dinger off one of the best pitchers in baseball, I have to give him a roar.
Darin Downs: Was water on the dumpster fire which was Verlander's start, allowed one run over 2.2/3 innings.
Evan Reed: Allowed a home run in his debut, but was otherwise fine. I'll take it in a blowout.
Justin Verlander: Off to the best start of his career over his first seven games, Verlander's ERA is now 3.17 after getting rocked in his last two outings. Tonight was a low point, but to not give Verlander the benefit of the doubt is beyond ridiculous.
GAME THREAD ROLL CALL:
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Avisail Garcia carried the vote with 68%.