The way the Detroit Tigers won on Sunday epitomizes what a team should be about. They had their automatic ace on the mound again. Justin Verlander has been as close to an automatic win as any pitcher in Major League Baseball over the past few years. That has not been the case of late however. Lately the master pitcher has struggled to find his control and it has cost him big time. It has cost the Tigers some as well but on Sunday they had his back and pulled out a win.
As strange as it might sound, inches are everything in pitching. The difference between the legendary Greg Maddux and some guy that never got out of the minors is about eight to ten inches. That is the difference from a pitch that paints a corner somewhere in a perfect spot and one that floats to the center of the strike zone. One, if repeated through the years can create a legend while the other just gets clobbered. Lately Verlander has been struggling to pinpoint his pitches and it is quite noticeable.
He himself said that his pitches are just not going where he wants them to. Location is king and while he is struggling with location, it doesn’t matter how many awards he has won or how many strikeouts he has. If his pitches find the center of the plate; it’s clobbering time. That is what happened in his last start once again but the Tigers showed him why they are a great team.
The bullpen came in and did a good job keeping the score manageable for the great Tigers offense. That offense then scored four runs late to come back and win the game, picking up their ace while he is down. I feel sure that he will probably get his act together and repay them the favor in October.