Monday, August 06, 2012

Verlander Dominates Yankees

The only two Yankee runs scored after Verlander dropped a throw from first baseman Prince Fielder in the fifth allowing lead-off hitter Curtis Granderson to reach on what would have been the final out.  Two singles later, the Yankees had tied the game at two. 

The Tigers bounced right back with three runs in the bottom of the fifth which would be more than enough for Verlander.  The inning featured five consecutive singles including run scoring knocks by Jhonny Peralta, Omar Infante and Austin Jackson.  The Tigers added two more in the sixth on four straight singles.

The Tigers first two runs came on solo homers - a blast to right by Fielder in the second and a 454-foot bomb to center by Miguel Cabrera.  Cabrera now was 28 homers giving him a 42 home run pace for a full season.  If he keeps it up, it would be his first 40-homer season.

The story of the game though was Verlander's mastery of the Bronx Bombers.  He allowed 8 hits but just one walk and had at least one punch out every inning.   Perhaps most impressive was his three strikeouts of designated hitter Ichiro Suzuki.  While Suzuki is no longer a productive hitter at all, he is still a very difficult batter to strike out.  He came into the game with just 40 whiffs in 471 plate appearances and none in his last 52.   Verlander also retired Granderson and slugger Mark Teixeira three times on strikes. 

Verlander threw a career high 132 pitches which might be concerning to some fans.  He certainly did not appear tired at the end though as he retired the last three batters on strikes.  High pitch counts become more worrisome when a pitcher is constantly pitching under stress which did not appear to be the case tonight.  He has thrown 130 or more pitches twice in 120 plus pitches six times this year.  

The win puts the Tigers just one game in back of the first-place White Sox pending the outcome of their game with the Royals tonight.  Chicago currently leads that contest 4-2 going into the ninth.

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