The Detroit Tigers have Justin Verlander on the mound tonight. That used to ensure victory and a sense of confidence amongst fans. The Tigers fans still have that confidence, but it’s in another man, Max Scherzer. Verlander pitched well in Tampa Bay after saying he had fixed some of the mechanical issues he had been dealing with for most of the first half of the year, but he gave up an 8th inning homer to Luke Scott that tied the game and the Tigers would later end up falling in extras. It’s been that type of year for Verlander who has had a build up of no decisions or late losses that used to be easy close wins. The dominant Verlander is close to coming back, and if he can that would present the Tigers with the deadly one-two punch with Scherzer that Tigers fans have been waiting for all year.
Detroit is coming off of another brilliant Scherzer start to take the first two out of three in the series against the Toronto Blue Jays, but it is going to be this game tonight that really judges just how good this series will be for the Tigers. A win tonight could bring confidence back to a team in desperate need of it at a crucial point to get it, but a loss would leave fans back in a familiar place of confusion as to what this team wants to become. Better yet a loss would leave fans wondering what Justin Verlander wants to become. Some will say it’s Kate Upton, some will say it’s that massive extension Verlander signed in the offseason, but while these are things that would get to other athletes, one thing people don’t question is Verlander’s competitiveness and effort. It’s been clear with the falling velocity that something was wrong in the throwing motion. Verlander, who normally hit high 90s to low 100s, was consistently throwing at 94-95 mph in his recent starts, that is until Tampa where his velocity was almost fully back throwing up to 98 mph.
It will be a big start for Verlander to prove that the technical issues have been fixed and he can be that huge support to Scherzer. If he can then the Tigers could have a double punch not seen since the days of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. If he can’t get it fixed and the Tigers continue to struggle with him on the mound, then the season will continue to be a puzzling one for fans and the ups and downs will continue to resemble a roller coaster that will leave Tigers fans begging to get off. One thing we know for sure is we will get a lot better picture of how Justin Verlander will pitch the rest of the season tonight and subsequently how the Tigers will fare. Buckle up, it’s must see JV tonight.