Detroit Tigers fire ball pitcher Justin Verlander was throwing smoke against the Kansas City Royals Thursday without firing a triple-digit fastball, which he has not thrown this season causing concerns about his shoulder. Verlander was doing his job and would have gotten the win if it was not for the bullpen, which blew it in the 8-3 loss in extra innings against the Royals. Verlander was ready to head to the eighth inning until a blister on his right thumb forced an early exit.
Verlander’s bailout early in the game with the score close may have lost the game, but even with the bullpen in shambles, it is a move that he has to make over and over again as he gets older and his shoulder continues to wear. Verlander allowed two runs, one earned, and one walk. He also struck out four batters before leaving early. It was a good thing that he left early because there is always the possibility that the blister could have turned into something more.
This season, Verlander has come under fire because people think there is something wrong with his shoulder. At this point last season, Verlander had thrown 11 pitches over 100 mph on the radar gun, but so far this season he has not gone over 97 mph. It is concerning because he only reached 96 mph in the game against the Royals. However, you can take this two ways. Either he is hurt and there is something wrong with his shoulder, or he is becoming a smarter pitcher using more fly balls and ground balls to get people out rather than over powering hitters.
Whatever it is, it is something to watch as we head into the second month of the regular season.