Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Verlander Breaks Le Tigre Out on the Brew Crew

Nothing new to add on the Verlander no-hitter except for my Zoolander reference in the title. For all the guff ESPN gets for being a synergistic, agenda driven, conglomerate (and often deservedly so) their status as such allowed them to make live cut-in's into the game the for last two or three half innings Verlander pitched and I'm greatly appreciative of that. I've seen Verlander pitch a few times, but his stuff in the 8th and 9th innings was just plain nastier than I had seen prior. At one point in the 9th he located a 102 mph fastball right on the outside corner- absolutely unhittable. How many starters from your childhood can you remember hitting 99 or 100 on the gun early in the game, let alone in the 9th inning? His curve was breaking so sharply that he was making MLB hitters look like 8 yr olds trying to hit a wiffleball in a hurricane. He got away with two hangers to JJ Hardy in the last at bat of game and was the beneficiary of the some nice defensive plays by in the 7th and 8th, but every no-hitter has a little luck involved in it. The bottomline is that Verlander clearly isn't suffering through the dead arm that many analysts suggested due to increased inning usage the past few years and man, do I wish that Verlander dropped one spot in the 2004 draft so the Mets could've gobbled him up instead of Phil Humber, who has already had Tommy John surgery and is scuffling a bit in AAA.

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