Justin Verlander flirted with his third no-hitter of his career today against the Texas Rangers, but lost it when Mitch Moreland hit a double off the right center wall with two outs in the seventh inning.
You had the feeling that maybe just maybe Verlander could pull it off, but still, it can’t be denied that a start like today will be huge for his confidence heading into the second half. His stuff today still wasn’t as crisp as Tigers fans are used to seeing, but the crafty use of his off-speed pitches (using them 2:1 over his fastball) shows that he is feeling more and more comfortable with his secondary pitches.
When he has the full use of his secondary pitches, that enables him to become a far more effective pitcher, changing eye levels and making the power of his fastball that much more powerful.
You have to wonder what the second half will have in store for Justin. Today was a day that Detroit Tigers fans hope is a key turning point in the ace gaining the confidence back that has made him the best pitcher in baseball over the last few years.
The team still has to worry about the velocity of the fastball, which has been down even today, because that will always be what separates Justin Verlander from a solid starter to elite. Still, it might have been a key start in the rebirth of Verlander, even if it didn’t create the history fans may have been hoping for.