I wish I could type up something poetic or dramatic or chuck full of literary goodness. I don’t really have that in me, and I don’t think I could muster it right now anyways. But watching this unfold was a thing of beauty. Justin Verlander was good in the first inning, and better in the 9th. His defense helped him of course, but with strikeouts accounting for 12 of the 27 outs, he certainly didn’t overtax them. A triple digit fastball, a sharp curve, and a masterful change-up had a pretty good Brewers offense shaking their heads after flailing helplessly at the plate.
Selfishly, I could care less about the Tigers offense tonight. Brandon Inge was great again, and Curtis Granderson added his 13th triple (and only his 3rd at home), but mostly I just wanted to see Verlander take the mound. The 7th and 8th innings when the Tigers were up only served to help me catch my breath and sigh before moving back to the edge of my seat. I was doing the mental out count down starting in the 5th. “There’s number 14, half way home.” I cursed Bill Hall as he saw pitch after pitch and earned walk after walk. I was thinking that if anyone broke it up, it would be Hall – or worse yet he’d run Justin’s pitch count up too high to finish.
And yet in the 8th inning when Hall walked, it was the much maligned Neifi Perez who cut down Hall at second base on a fabulous play before Placido Polanco turned over the double play, saving Justin a few more pitches, and a little more energy.
Not that Justin needed more energy, he was feeding off the crowd that stood when Justin stood and didn’t sit down until they got in their cars to go home. Verlander reached back and hit 102 on the FSN gun at around pitch number 109. After hanging an 87mph curve on pitch number 111 he took a moment for a walk behind the mound. Dan Dickerson later asked if it was to soak in the moment, which was my first thought as well. But it was just so Verlander could harness his adrenaline before throwing pitch 112 which sealed history as it nestled into Magglio Ordonez’s glove. History. Awesome.
Some other thoughts that didn’t fit in the narrative:
- Magglio Ordonez who gets hammered for his defense, has really been pretty good this year and a diving grab rescued a liner from a fate on the turf. Probably the closest threat to a hit in the game.
- I flipped on the radio in the 9th, and if you missed it Dan Dickerson was money. He conveyed the moment without spelling it all out. People knew the situation, they could hear the crowd. Jim Price pretty much stayed out of the way, and Dickerson carried us on the tension in his voice. I’m not saying this just because Dan’s been nice enough to do some interviews for the site, but he is a very very very good broadcaster.
- I love watching the emotion from Dave Dombrowski, and I love the fact that he keeps score during a game. The fact he’s a fan, just like the rest of us, I find to be very endearing.
- This was Pudge’s 2nd no hitter after catching Kenny Rogers perfect game in 1994.
- This was home plate umpire Ron Kulpa’s first no hitter. I thought he was quite good, but a called 3rd strike to Craig Counsell to start the game appeared off the plate. That set up a pretty big strike zone that Verlander used to his advantage. And he threw the same pitch to Counsell in the 9th with the same result.