|Final - 5.18.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|WP: Justin Verlander (5 - 1)
LP: Charlie Morton (2 - 4)
By leading the Detroit Tigers over the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-0 in complete game, 1 hit shutout fashion, Justin Verlander showed why he's the best pitcher in baseball. It's also why Jim Leyland loves to say (several times a season) momentum is your next day's starting pitcher.
After being swept by the worst team in baseball, the Minnesota Twins, a Verlander start is the best kind of momentum to have on your side. Following a Tigers loss, Verlander is 20-3 since the start of 2011, and 63-29 for his career. That's why you see a picture of Verlander when you look up both ace and stopper. Well...if you don't, you should
Painful as it was to see Verlander lose a no-hitter in heart breaking fashion, it doesn't bother me long-term. Why? Because someone who has come so close (He's had 4 legitimate shots at a no-hitter since his 2nd last May), is bound to do it again. It's fait accompli. I honestly believe the question to ask isn't if Verlander will throw another no-hitter. The questions I'm asking is the what the date will be when Verlander tosses his next no-no, how many he'll end up with over the remainder of his career and when he will get into Kate Upton's Prefect Game Club.
As for the big picture, I'm sure we're all wondering if this was the season turning win we've been waiting to see from the under .500 Tigers. It takes a special player and a very special performance to change the tide of a long season. Tonight we witnessed what could be one of those performances.So I want to say yes, it was, but I'd be lying. It's just too early to say.
Verlander pitching like 1945 Hal Newhouser and 1968 Denny McClain (with a touch of 1976 Mark Fidrych) combined won't mean a damn thing if the Tigers don't start winning games in bunches. For the time being, I just want to see this team win the series, put the month of not winning consecutive games behind them, finally string together a winning streak (what a concept) and go on their merry, winning way.
Hopefully in October we can look back at Verlander's dominance on a mid-May evening and say, "That's when the Tigers became a championship team."
But for now, just revel in his brilliance.
Jim Leyland a very good mood, joking with the press after the game:
I actually was going to take him out in the 8th inning. As popular as I am right now in town, it probably wasn't a good idea.
The Marlboro Man then cursed on camera, and FSD apologized. Oh, our virgin ears.Though after all the gloom, doom and rage, it was refreshing to see a happily cussing manager.
When asked about his reaction to losing the no-hitter, it was classic Verlander:
"#%&$. Is this live? Good, because that's what I said."
FSD was much quicker on the kill switch this time.
Other than Verlander's dominance, the best thing about the game was the Tigers' offense, though there was both good and bad.
The good? 6 runs, 13 hits, 6 for extra bases, Delmon Young breaking out of a brutally protracted slump, everyone but Ryan Raburn got on base via a hit.
The bad? 19 left on base, Raburn still can't buy a base hit to save multiple lives.
But the heck with everything else, at least for one night. As Leyland told the media post win, the night belongs to Verlander.
Justin Verlander: Need I even explain? 9 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 12 K, 5-1, 2.14 ERA, 0.80 WHIP.
Delmon Young: He's been the topic of much derision over the past several days, stuck in a massive slump since his legal issues began. Tonight, he was the player the Tigers were dying to see in the 5 spot. 2-4, 3 RBI, HR, R.
Jhonny Peralta, Don Kelly, Prince Fielder: All contributed in various ways. Peralta with 3 hits, Fielder with 2 hits and an RBI, Kelly with an RBI and a very nice defensive play to keep the no-hitter in play. Yes, naming 3 Tigers is cheating. I don't care.
Josh Harrison: Dude, you just had to go and break up the no-hitter. Actually, he had the best swings of anyone facing Verlander all night long, so if the no-no was going to be broken up, Harrison was the guy to do it.
Ryan Raburn: I spend the last couple of days defending him as the lesser of several evils, and what thanks do I get? 0-4 and 2 GIDP.
Charlie Morton: Crossed up his catcher, causing a 1st inning fastball to drill home plate umpire CB Bucknor in the right collarbone. Sure, I have issues with MLB umpiring, but I sure as Hell don't want to see an ump badly injured. Luckily, nothing was broken and Bucknor continued.
GAME 38 PLAYER OF THE GAME:
There was a God awful game 38? No such thing. It's been purged from the BYB memory banks.