Verlander is back

When Jim Leyland said he was going to put Justin Verlander on a strict, but undisclosed pitch count today, who thought it would be 120? It probably is a few more than Jim would have liked, but when you have a pitcher as in control as Verlander was today, 120 doesn’t seem to be a stretch at all.

By the numbers

The numbers really do tell a story of how dominant Verlander was today:

  • 23 – The number of consecutive hitters Verlander retired after Torii Hunter singled in the first inning.
  • 82% – The rate at which Verlander racked up first pitch strikes
  • 9 – The pitches that Verlander threw from the stretch. It’s safe to say he wasn’t pitching under duress.
  • 4 – The number of times Verlander went to a 3 ball count. He didn’t walk any batters.
  • 3 – The hits allowed.
  • 72% – Verlander’s strike rate for the day

That’s pretty much as good as it gets and not a moment too soon.

Everybody else

The bottom of the order led the charge today and 5 runs proved to be more than enough. The bottom 4 in the lineup went 5 for 14 and set the table for Austin Jackson who does what Austin Jackson does. He gets a hit or strikes out. Five ABs, 3 hits, 2 strike outs. It really is incredible.

  • Alex Avila reached base 3 times. I’m not sure what was more impressive, his rope double down the line or the 8 pitch walk he worked in the 8th.
  • Brennan Boesch continues to hit and picked up another double. Boesch has been mashing first pitch fastballs since getting called up. This time though he jumped on a first pitch slider. It was nice to see the adjustment for the youngster.
  • It was unfortunate that Jose Valverde had to come in today. He’s now appeared in 14 of the team’s 26 games and is on pace to make 84 appearances this year. It would certainly help with his goal of 74 saves, but that is a heavy workload.

Tigers 5, Angels 1

13 Comments

  1. sportz4life

    May 2, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    In the 46 years I have watched baseball this Verlander performance ranked in the top 3.

    To dminate an angels team who wanted to avoid getting swept, who are normally proficient at working pitchers was a thing of beauty to watch.

    Boesch, adjusments?? Se it hit it, especially the first pitch. It will be a matter of time before they refuse to throw him a strike on the first pitch..or tempt him with non strikes, his .296 OBP is a telling number.

    Valvaerde needs some days off, but it’s hard to rest him when you constantly have the lead.

  2. Mike in CT

    May 2, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    It is kind of a shame that Verlander’s would-be shutout was foiled, in part, to defensive indifference.

  3. mat

    May 2, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Boesch’s production has me thinking… for all the talk about the lavish contracts that Ordonez, Willis, Bonderman, and Robertson have failed to earn, its Guillen’s that now looks the worst. He still has another season for $13M, has production that isn’t difficult to replace, and simply can’t stay healthy. The injuries are especially galling given what appears (from his physique) to be a less than stellar effort to stay in the kind of shape you’d want from a pro athlete who has repeated injury problems.

    At this point I’d like to see him settle into a role as a part-time player and pinch-hitter, letting Boesch and some of the other young players play LF/DH.

  4. Mith

    May 2, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    I don’t get Jimmy’s use of Valverde. He’s already been used in several non-save situations this year- why? I agree that Verlander needed to come out after the 2 singles, but Zumaya or someone else couls have mopped it up.

    • Ryan

      May 2, 2010 at 9:27 pm

      I’ve been saying the same thing too – why use Valverde when he doesn’t have a chance to get a save? Why else do we have Eddie Bonine on our roster but to pitch 2/3 of an inning with the lead? No offense to Eddie, because he’s been solid, but there’s no reason to use one of our power arms with a four run lead.

      • Vince in MN

        May 2, 2010 at 10:42 pm

        Watching Leyland manage over the last four years, I am pretty well convinced that judicious use of a bullpen is not one of his strengths. Actually, outside of talking to the press I am not sure what his strengths are. Well, to be fair, the load on the bullpen so far has been exacerbated by the starters not being able to go very deep into games (they are doing better though). However, using Valverde in that situation today didn’t make much sense to me either. Add to that the fact that we are beginning a big 3-game series with MN tomorrow.

      • Eric Cioe

        May 2, 2010 at 10:44 pm

        Because the middle of a potent Angels lineup was coming up, and Leyland wanted to make sure that the score stayed 5-1. You can’t just use a closer in save situations, or he’d only get into 35 games a season. Relievers always pitch a lot of innings in April. He won’t make it into 84 games this season. Probably not 74, either.

        • billfer

          May 3, 2010 at 7:39 am

          I’m less concerned with Leyland using Valverde today for the reasons you mentioned. And I actually appreciate that he isn’t a slave to the save statistic. I look more at a game like Friday night where it was a 4 run lead in the 9th and nobody on base.

          • Stormin Norman $

            May 3, 2010 at 8:43 am

            I don’t know if he’s publicly articulated his ‘policy’ yet, but i believe his approach this year (after losing a game 163) is to take nothing for granted and try to win every game the Tigers have a chance of winning… and if that means bringing JV out another inning (after he’s surpassed 100 pitches) or bringin Valverde out 4 days/games in a row – so be it.

            I could be wrong, but i imagine losing a tie-breaker (game 163) has some lasting influence on a manager.

    • Keith (Mr. X)

      May 3, 2010 at 2:52 pm

      You don’t mop up when the potential tying run is on double deck. Leyland isn’t managing a fantasy baseball team where saves mean something.
      Valverde is a work horse anyway. We don’t need to protect his arm like we do with Zumaya or Perry.

  5. Tbone

    May 2, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Okay – I hate to distract from Verlander’s gem, but that bobblehead? It looks like they used left over Polanco heads…

  6. andre

    May 3, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    “Austin Jackson who does what Austin Jackson does. He gets a hit or strikes out.”

    Austin ‘Binary’ Jackson?

    • Keith (Mr. X)

      May 3, 2010 at 6:09 pm

      LOL. I thought that was funny.