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Detroit Tigers Links: Justin Verlander misses a no-hitter by inches

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Verlander takes his recent dominance to the next level, and what makes Bruce Bochy and Joe Maddon so good?

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Verlander has been on fire for the better part of two months now. Fully rebuilt from the core injury that ruined his 2014 campaign, and the triceps strain that cost him 10 weeks this year, the Tigers ace has retaken his spot as one of the top pitchers in the game. Last night's brilliant performance was just sort of a coming out party for all those who hadn't been paying attention. I'll blow my own horn here a bit with this piece published last week about Verlander's resurgence and the dominant fastball that is defying all the critics.

Last night Justin pounded the strike zone with 74 of 112 pitches for strikes. He ended with a superb game score of 92, striking out nine with just a pair of walk, and the lone hit a chalk-duster down the left-field line by the ninth inning leadoff hitter, catcher Chris Iannetta. Curse you Iannetta, curse you forever.

Verlander's ERA stood a a whopping 5.05 after an August 4 start against the Kansas City Royals. It now sits at 3.45, with a WHIP of 1.07. He's striking out a batter per inning in August. In his last four starts, spanning 29 innings, he's allowed just one earned run, 12 hits, and 31 strikeouts. Yeah, it's been stellar. Nothing flukey about it. Most impressive has been a fastball just shy of unhittable over his last couple starts. Trout and Iannetta each squared one up last night, but other than that there was nothing that could be called hard contact.

It's rare to see a pitcher dominate at that level with their fastball. It's not like they didn't know what was coming. The slider and curve were also on point though he didn't need too many of them. Watching Verlander carve through Kole Calhoun, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in the seventh inning, striking out the side, was a sight that lifted the hearts of the down-trodden Tigers' fanbase, and breathed new hope into the team's future.

How has Verlander come back so strong? Well, he's healthy. That's almost the entire answer. But, there have been a few adjustments along the way. Jeff Sullivan over at Fangraphs took a rather prescient look into the subject Wednesday morning. And for your further edification, enjoy a quick rewind to last night's #MustSeeJV performance...and if there's one thing more I'd point out, it's the fact that all but one of Verlander's strikeouts came on swinging strikes against a fastball that was the very definition of explosive....

What went through your head when Iannetta's double landed Justin?

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