I get it and I agree, the MLB All-Star game is designed for fan entertainment. However, AL starting pitcher Justin Verlander must have forgotten that since 2003 (whether fair or not) the game’s outcome also means something CRITICALLY important……home field advantage for the World Series. He was tagged for five runs (all earned) in his first and only inning, and that pretty much was ballgame over. Apparently, Justin Verlander was more concerned about busting radar guns than getting quick outs. He threw 35 pitches, faced nine batters, gave up four hits, and walked two (throwing six straight balls in the process) all in his one inning! This is NOT what I expected from the reigning AL Cy Young and MVP winner. But, five pitches were clocked at 100 mph…..and one pitch even reached 101. Who cares? You have to play to WIN the game now!
In his post-game comments Justin Verlander said, “Obviously I don’t want to give up runs. I know it means something, but we’re here for the fans. And I know the fans don’t want to see me throw 90 and try and hit the corners. Just let it eat”. Not entirely true, Mr. Verlander. It’s my opinion that MLB All-Star Game fans basically want to see the best pitchers in the game make the best hitters in the game look foolish (and vice versa). You don’t necessarily need to do that with 100+ mph velocity! He did crank it up to 101 (thanks to some in-game encouragement coming from his fellow Tiger Prince Fielder playing first base) to wow the fans, but because he couldn’t locate most of his pitches he saddled his AL teammates with an insurmountable deficit before they even came to bat in the game. What quickly began as a 5-0 rout ended in an 8-0 NL victory, for the 8th shutout in All-Star game history, and 3rd consecutive NL win. Verlander hasn’t allowed five runs in an inning since April 2010! I really wonder if he had a chance to do it all over again, would he pitch the same way.
Justin Verlander is one of the fiercest competitors in today’s game, so much so that he actually expects to throw a no-hitter every time he takes the mound (he’s thrown two career no-hitters so far in this his 7th season). Verlander typically throws in the low 90s during the early innings. That allows him to establish a consistent delivery. During the later innings of a game is when he usually ascends to 98, 99, 100, and sometimes beyond. THIS is the proven method that has helped the 29-year old become the best pitcher in baseball for the past several years. He greatly deviated from THIS method last night, and now the World Series will begin in an NL park for the 3rd straight autumn. I’m not saying Verlander deserves all the blame for the AL loss, but his shocking ineffectiveness certainly did set the tone for the game. Everybody has a bad game, but he was TOTALLY off.
Rumor has it though that Verlander has not been totally off in ALL his decision-making lately. A couple of weekends ago in Detroit he was spotted with SI covergirl Kate Upton taking in an Aerosmith concert, and then enjoying an evening on the town. She was seen later that same weekend at Comerica Park sporting a Tigers cap at a KC-Detroit game. Like the commercial, this 5-time All-Star will do ANYTHING to get into the Perfect Game Club!
Filed under: Pro Baseball
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