Atlanta Braves‘ hitters likely will not miss the blazing fastball and nasty breaking pitches of Justin Verlander in their weekend series with the Detroit Tigers, but baseball fans should feel disappointed this matchup won’t take place.
Verlander pitched seven innings in Thursday’s contest against the Kansas City Royals to make him unavailable this weekend against the Braves.
And it’s unfortunate Verlander won’t go up against this Braves’ lineup. It would have been the classic strength against strength matchup.
The Braves’ powerful lineup has slugged a MLB-leading 35 home runs. They savor the chance when a pitcher attacks them with fastballs. Chicago Cubs’ pitcher Carlos Marmol tried and gave up home runs to the Upton brothers. Kelvin Herrera came in throwing a 98 mph heater for the Royals, and the Braves promptly left the yard three times.
A player many have compared to Verlander, Stephen Strasburg, had his chance against the Braves. He held the Braves to two runs, but gave up a long ball to Evan Gattis, and the Braves narrowly missed putting up crooked numbers in that contest with loud outs.
I would love to see Gattis give it a go against Verlander, or MLB home run leader, Justin Upton, who has just four at-bats in his career against him. His brother, B.J., is the only player on the team with more than 20 at-bats against Verlander and has hit .429 with a home run and a pair of doubles.
The interleague play allows for matchups that we usually don’t see. The Braves will get a stiff test from a talented Tigers team, but it won’t be the truest test as facing the reigning American League MVP and ace of the Tigers. Unfortunately, Verlander and the Braves won’t square off in 2013.
Unless of course, these two teams meet in the World Series.