Has Justin Verlander Lost it?

HAS VERLANDER LOST IT? LONGTIME TIGER ACE STRUGGLING BADLY THUS FAR IN 2014

Justin Verlander is scheduled to take the mound Saturday night in Cleveland in a Tigers/Indians game that will be televised regionally by FOX. He knows that the entire baseball world will be monitoring his performance very closely because recent evidence suggests that he’s lost whatever magic it was that he used to have.

Here’s a quick look at the basic NOTEBOOK indicator stats for pitchers for Verlander over the last five-plus seasons. The was solid in years 2009-10…he was ungodly (in the American League where DH’s hit) in years 2011-12…he started becoming more hittable last year (look at his WHIP)…and he fell off the map this year.

JUSTIN VERLANDER
2009: 3.45 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 10.1 K-Rate
2010: 3.37 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 8.8 K-Rate
2011: 2.40 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 9.0 K-Rate
2012: 2.64 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 9.0 K-Rate
2013: 3.46 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 8.9 K-Rate
2014: 4.98 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 6.4 K-Rate

So many things to worry about in that stat line...

  • He’s not just moving in the wrong direction…but he’s moving against the flow of the sport. Scoring is going down in the post-steroids era…and 2014 has very much been a “year of the pitcher” so far. The stats in 2013-14 are worse than they look because standards have been changing.
  • He was able to dodge some bullets amidst last year’s inconsistency in a way that kept his ERA at an acceptable level. The WHIP increase was a warning sign, but he was still clearly a guy you wanted in your rotation…while you worried about the rise in WHIP.
  • He’s now lost his ability to get K’s on command! That’s the huge red flag that may be signaling the end of the line. If he can’t make batters miss, then he’s going to get rocked all over the park. Pitchers don’t just lose 2.5 strikeouts per game for now reason. Either he’s hurt…he’s lost velocity…or he’s lost SOMETHING that has turned him into Triple A quality. That’s the truth. Allowing 1.56 WHIP and an ERA near 5.00 is something that Triple A pitchers would do in half a season. Heck, this year, many guys who were perceived as Triple A level talents are posting numbers better than that.

If Verlander is toast, then the Tigers might be as well in terms of their hopes to win the AL Central. They’re in a dogfight at the moment with the Kansas City Royals and these Cleveland Indians…with the White Sox and Twins within striking distance if either happens to get hot. That’s the backdrop heading into tonight’s TV tussle. Let’s go to our key stats…

OFFENSE
Detroit: 4.31 runs per game, .325 on-base, .431 slugging
Cleveland: 4.44 runs per game, .327 on-base, .394 slugging

Detroit’s averaged less than 4.00 runs per game over the last month. They were on a 10-20 skid the prior 30 games entering this series. So, their current form is a bit worse than those numbers would suggest. Cleveland has outscored them even with less slugging. In terms of talent, two good offenses. Possibly a slight edge to the Tribe based on what’s been happening lately.

SATURDAY’S PROBABLE PITCHERS
Justin Verlander: 4.98 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 6.4 K-Rate
Trevor Bauer: 4.20 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 9.3 K-Rate

Forgot to mention earlier about Verlander that he’s actually pitching WORSE than that lately! He has an ERA in the 7’s over his last seven starts. Bauer is a stopgap arm for the Indians, who are hoping he starts to show some improvement. He’s only lasting 5.8 innings per start in seven outings. Both offenses should be positioned to put runs on the board, suggesting an Over is worth your consideration.

JIM HURLEY may or may not have a major release going on the team side in this one. There are great options all over the day and night card Saturday. You can purchase the final word right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, call us in the office during Saturday or Sunday morning at 1-800-323-4453. Be sure to check on early-bird football rates here online or when you call!

Back tomorrow for another TV preview, as we check in with the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels in time for their Sunday Night game on ESPN. Here’s the baseball preview schedule over the next week…

Sunday: MLB TV Preview…Texas at LA Angels (prime time on ESPN)
Monday: MLB Series Preview…Washington at Milwaukee
Tuesday: MLB Series Preview…Detroit at Texas
Wednesday: MLB Big Game Preview…LA Dodgers at Kansas City
Thursday: MLB Series Preview…St. Louis at LA Dodgers
Friday: MLB Series Preview…Boston at the NY Yankees

Justin Verlander’s career may be winding down, but JIM HURLEY just keeps getting better and better! Link up with NETWORK now for BIG, JUICY WINNERS!

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