Justin Verlander‘s season has been far from ideal thus far. Although, until the last couple of starts, he had been great.
The Detroit Tigers are tied for first place in the American League Central and have one of the best pitching staffs in the entire league, while also being the only team to score over 200 runs to this point. They are an all-around solid team and are predicted by many to run away with the division title.
They will need Verlander to achieve such a mark. However, the eight-year veteran has struggled in his past two starts and has a less-than-impressive 4-4 record through nine starts.
He also has a 3.17 ERA after allowing eight earned runs to the Texas Rangers in 2.2 on Thursday night. It was supposed to be a pitching matchup for the ages as Verlander went up against Yu Darvish, but the end result was unexpected as Darvish gave up four runs and Verlander gave up eight.
As one of the worst starts in Verlander’s eight years as a pro, people have begun to wonder if the former Cy Young winner has lost his touch as his velocity has seemingly gone down this season and his numbers are less than Verlander-esque.
By not having an ERA over 3.45 in any season since 2008 and only having one full season’s ERA above four in his career, Verlander has set the bar high enough to where people begin to question if he is past his prime the second he has a bad game.
Yes, his last two games have resulted in 11 earned runs in just 7.2 innings, but that comes with any minor slump. Every baseball player goes through ups and downs. Although Verlander has shown over the years that he may not be human, it’s slumps like this that remind people that he is, in fact, a human being.
While a 3.17 ERA is unheard of for JV, it isn’t the end of the world as he has only pitched nine games this season. In fact, his ERA before Thursday’s disastrous outing was a pristine 1.93 — one of the best in the league.
So stop worrying, Tigers fans and fans of baseball in general. Everybody goes through slumps and when you’re the best pitcher in baseball, they may be a bit more publicized than most.