It is widely considered true that Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers is Major League Baseball’s best starting pitcher. You would find it difficult to argue that point especially if you go back over the past several years. What he has done has put his name up there with the greats of all time and he isn’t close to done. In a game against the Texas Rangers however he showed us all that no matter how good he is, he is still human.
The Tigers ace gave up an incredible 8 runs in 2-2/3 innings. That isn’t just an off night folks, that is a terrible outing. For whatever reason, the Rangers were just able to get to him over and over again. When the dust was settled Verlander and the Tigers took a big loss. But then again the Rangers handing out losses isn’t exactly news. They have been the best team in baseball since around April 1st and remain so today. Theirs is the only division lead that already looks to be insurmountable.
Most everyone expects that this is an isolated incident and it probably is but we wouldn’t be trying if we didn’t at least look. Verlander has a record of 4 – 4 but most of those losses are of the tough luck variety. Only twice has he given up three runs until the Rangers issue happened. The second three run outing might be telling however. It came against the Cleveland Indians and was the start prior to the Rangers start. He only gave up three runs but he gave them up in five innings. That is the strange part of the situation. Maybe it is a small down trend for the big guy.
In all likelihood the only way something serious is bothering Verlander is if that almost-perfect game got to him recently. He wouldn’t be the first starting pitcher that had a struggle or two after a near-perfect outing. It will all surely work out okay but don’t be surprised if the Rangers remain a bit of a thorn in Verlander’s side this season. They are for everyone else after all. Why should he be any different?