Justin Verlander hasn’t looked like himself lately, but luckily for the Detroit Tigers, his average is better than most people’s good.
Verlander gave up five runs in five innings Tuesday against the Baltimore Orioles. He struggled through May as well, allowing 19 earned runs in his final four starts of the month.
The Tigers shouldn’t be worried though. His average fastball velocity has dropped to 93.5 mph from about 95 in his Cy Young season in 2011 which causes concern for some, but his current issues stem from a lack of control more than anything.
Verlander is walking 3.13 batters per nine innings compared to 2.04 in 2011. Other than that, many of his statistical measures are actually higher than usual. He’s striking out batters at a higher rate than ever (10.37 K/9,) and posting a better home run rate (0.68 HR/9) than he has as well.
If there was one critique of Verlander, it might be that he is trying too hard to repeat his delivery. He seems so focused on making sure his mechanics are spot on that he has sometimes forgotten to reach back and just hurl. In the past, he was at his best when he would just go out and throw. He would look to blow pitches by hitters and simply beat them with his ability.
He appears to be trying to beat hitters with his head. He seems to want to out-guess hitters and has strayed away from simply trying to beat them with his exceptional arm.
With all that said, he’s still Justin Verlander. His ERA currently sits at 3.72 which isn’t all that bad. Just about any pitcher in baseball would consider it a victory if these were the type of numbers they posted in a “down year.”