Sunday, June 19, 2011

Verlander Solves Coors

The Tigers looked very bad in the first two games versus the Rockies at Colorado.  Neither Rick Porcello nor Phil Phil Coke were able to solve the Rockies in the first two games of the series.  The usually unflappable Porcello, perhaps intimidated by the high altitude of Coors Field, did not seem to be himself in game one.  Phil Coke simply couldn't get the ball over the plate in the second game.  Not only that, but the whole team seemed out of sorts with sloppy base running and fielding in the first two games.

So, the Tigers once again needed Justin Verlander to come to the rescue in game three and, as usual, their ace did not disappoint.  He pitched his fourth complete game of the season leading the Tigers to a 9-1 rout.  The Tigers right-hander struck out only five batters, but allowed just four hits and walked nobody.  The only run came on a solo homer by Rockies third baseman Ty Wigginton.

Verlander is having his most consistent season to date as he seems to be avoiding the one bad inning which hurt him on occasion in the past.  With 15 Quality Starts (six or more innings and three of fewer earned runs) in 16 games, Verlander leads the majors with a 93.8 Quality Start percentage.     

While Justin is striking out batters at his career rate (8.2 K / 9 IP), he has been especially good at not allowing base runners this year.  He has shown better control walking 1.9 per nine innings compared to 2.6 in 2009-2010.  Similarly, his hit rate is down to 5.7 per game, down from 7.9 over the last two years.  The result is a league leading WHIP of 0.85.

The Tigers supported Verlander with some heavy hitting today.  Brennan Boesch had three hits, including his tenth homer to pace a 13-hit attack.  Miguel Cabrera (a homer and a double), Alex Avila and Don Kelly each chipped in with two hits.

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