With only a few days left before Opening Day the Detroit Tigers are gearing up for a the long season where they will defend their American League Central crown for the second consecutive time. The Tigers are poised to make another long run that hopefully ends with a World Series title. Yet again Justin Verlander will take the mound on Opening Day, and he’s ready to go to work.
On Wednesday, Verlander made his last start before the start of the season. In Spring Training this year he had a record of 1-2 recording a 4.74 ERA in five games started. In 19 innings of work Verlander struck out 16 and walked three batters, and only allowed 6.6 hits per nine innings. Now I know that we can’t take statistics that seriously in Spring Training, but this is a great sign for another outstanding season from the best pitcher in Major League Baseball.
What can Detroit fans expect from Verlander in 2013? Well you can pretty much expect the same thing he’s been doing for the last couple years. He will be a workhorse that goes out there and racks up the innings, most likely over 220. He’s pitched over 220 innings for the last four years. Not only that, but he will most likely win 17 or more games for the club, which he’s done for the last four years as well.
He’s considered to be one of the best pitchers for a reason. He has amazing stuff that fools even the best of hitters. He almost strikes out nine batters per nine innings, and gives up less than one home run every nine innings. I would expect the same trends this year as he comes closer to signing a new contract with either the Tigers or another team.
After the 2014 season Verlander will become a free agent, and most likely will become the highest paid pitcher in baseball. Not that he needs any more reason to pitch well, but the possibility of $200 million will no doubt add more motivation. It’s safe to say Verlander will have another great year and contend for the AL Cy Young Award.