Justin Verlander has allowed just 10 earned runs over his last eight starts. For the first time since 2012, all four of his pitches rate above average. While his full arsenal is coming around, Verlander feels he still has work to do to really dial in his delivery. He has had no issues pouring in 96-97 mile-per-hour fastballs late in his starts this season, but Chris Iott reports that Verlander still feels that a bit of fine-tuning could reveal that old flame-throwing gear.
Jeff Luhnow, Astros imagine 'What if' with once-released J.D. Martinez - SI.com, Ben Reiter
In the midst of a winning season that came before they expected, the Houston Astros GM looks down from his stockpile of great young talent to rue the one that got away. A pretty honest evaluation of his one big miss along the path to rebuilding the Astros.
Detroit Tigers' Al Alburquerque undergoes MRI after battling issue with right leg - MLive, Chris Iott
Alburquerque has played a very limited role in the Tigers' bullpen in recent weeks. There was a good reason for that.
Baseball’s Last Cuban Escapees - The New York Times, Sam Anderson
The next generation of the country’s athlete-émigrés most likely will be ordinary rookies instead of runaways. But these major-league players got here the hard way.
Baseball’s Quirkiest Corners Make Life Interesting for Third-Base Coaches - The New York Times, Billy Witz
Pretty interesting view of several stadiums from the third base coaches' box as they grapple with that age-old question, send them or stop them?
Moving on From the Freak: The Likely End of Tim Lincecum’s Giants Career - Grantland, Michael Baumann
For years now, Tim Lincecum has struggled to find a way to deal with a long degraded arsenal. Unfortunately, nothing he's tried has helped him to even be effective again, let alone to find the stuff that made him one of most dominant pitchers in the game.
Back to School: The Science Behind Toronto Flamethrower Marcus Stroman’s Rapid ACL Recovery - Grantland, Ben Lindbergh
The Toronto Blue Jays excellent young right-hander was told his season was over. How did modern medicine, rehabilitation and hard work get him back on the mound just in time for the Blue Jays stretch drive?
The Secrets of Baseball Management - FOX Sports, Rob Neyer
Mark Armour and Dan Levitt have written a tremendous book, "In Pursuit of Pennants," about the evolution of upper-level baseball management, from the early days through the 21st century. We caught up with them recently and asked a few questions inspired by the book.
Should One Strike Make This Much Difference? - The Hardball Times, Neil Weinberg
Neil investigates that most important of pitches...the first one. The results bear out the aggressive approach the Tigers' themselves favor.