By James Nahikian
Although Tigers’ ace Justin Verlander lost his chance for a stunning third career no-hitter in the 9th inning of Friday’s 6-0 victory, he still put on quite a show for a sold out Comerica Park. Verlander, who lost his no-hitter with one out in the final inning due to a hit by a lunging Josh Harrison, still struck out 12 on his way to a complete game shutout.
The Detroit Tigers have struggled to say the least so far this year. The offense has been awful and the team still has a losing record. It’s Verlander’s job to go out there and set the tone and try to turn things around. The team had hit rock bottom on Thursday after being swept by the Minnesota Twins (13-26), the worst team in baseball. It’s incredible to think that Verlander basically threw a no-hitter when his team needed it most.
Baseball has changed over the years. Pitchers throw harder now, disabling them from pitching multiple days in a row. So it makes it difficult to compare pitchers from baseball’s golden age, to pitchers like Verlander in the modern era.
Justin Verlander has the best “stuff” in baseball, ever. No starting pitcher has ever had a 100 MPH fastball in his back pocket. No pitcher can tone down that fastball to any speed that he wants. No pitcher can throw a 90 MPH changeup on accident, and still have a 10 MPH difference from his fastball. Not to mention the fact that on his curveball, he does not even grip the seams, which makes the pitch even more nasty. The seams are what allow most pitchers to get the break on the pitch that they need, Verlander does not even need them and his curveball is still better. And I won’t even talk about his slider, which is one of the best in the league and he essentially just started throwing it last season.
The guy already has two no-hitters, and he flirts with more everytime he takes the hill. After the game, he was asked when fans could expect that third no-hitter, he responded with, “Who knows, you never know, stay tuned.” Cooperstown will also stay tuned.
Is this the moment that the Tigers needed in order to turn their season around? I would hope so, but only time will tell. As for now, Justin Verlander will continue to be the best pitcher to ever play the game.
James Nahikian blogs about the industry of sports. And specializes in articles about the Detroit Tigers, Major League Baseball and Bowling Green State University Athletics. Email him at email@example.com And follow him on twitter @KingNahikian or facebook where you can find links to his articles and updates about future posts.