A year ago, two earned runs in a game would have bumped Justin Verlander‘s ERA up a bit. Nowadays, that same number has dropped his ERA from a 3.90 to a 3.77 after a solid performance against the Tampa Bay Rays that ended in a no-decision.
The Detroit Tigers ace has been having somewhat of a nightmare season by his standards. On pace to finish the season with his second-highest full-season ERA as a pro, Verlander has not been able to catch a break even when he has pitched a solid game.
His last win came three weeks ago on June 7, and the last time he allowed two runs or less before this start was June 12. It’s safe to say his solid starts this season have been few and far between.
When you think of Verlander, you think of the best pitcher in baseball, former Cy Young winner and MVP winner.
When you hear his name this season, however, you think of disappointing season as well as struggling ace. A 3.77 ERA, 8-5 record and 114 strikeouts in 16 starts isn’t exactly a poor start to a season, but for a guy who hasn’t seen his ERA rise above 2.65 since 2010, this is quite a discouraging first half of the 2013 season.
Since the start of May, Verlander has had just three starts with less than three earned runs. During that time period, he has pitched more than seven innings of work just once. In fact, this season has seen just one of his starts go past the seventh inning — quite the contrary to usual Verlander starts.
He started the year with a 1.83 ERA in April, looking like he was going to be an easy candidate for AL Cy Young, then dropped off. With a 6.41 ERA in May and a 4.35 mark in June, he will need a near-perfect July to bring his earned run average back down to a Verlander-like number.
While he has been struggling so far in 2013, he has still given the Tigers the best chance to win every time he takes the mound, but Saturday night was just one more example of how he just can’t catch a break.
Eight solid innings of work and the ace still can’t come out with a win. It’s been a tough season for Verlander while he’s watching his teammate Max Scherzer have the season of his life with a 12-0 start.