Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Local Idiot Overreacts to Justin Verlander's Struggles

We’ve gone several weeks since the scourge of mLive has been able to come up with something to complain about with the Tigers. But lucky us, this week he’s back and he’s here to tell us what’s wrong with Justin Verlander. Thank goodness we have a sports radio hack around to tell us what JV and the coaching staff cannot possibly realize on their own.

Bless us with your Huge insight, Bill.

Is there something wrong with Justin Verlander?

Hells, yeah. Have you seen his hairline lately?

I bet I've been asked that question a million times this baseball season.

I bet you’re lying. The only possible question I can envision Bill being asked a million times is, “Do you really get paid to constantly be wrong about sports?”

The Detroit Tigers’ ace has been struggling lately.

The team has won five of his last seven starts. He has a quality start in four of those seven. Three starts ago, he allowed zero runs in seven innings. On May 27th, he struck out 13 batters in seven innings. You’re right. Let’s cut him.

Let’s assume you mean his past two starts when you say “lately”. He’s gone only five innings in each. He has allowed nine earned runs in his last ten innings. His ERA rose from 3.40 to 3.90.

He was also facing the Orioles and Red Sox, who happen to be the two highest scoring teams in the American League. Let’s give the best pitcher in Tigers history a little break here, huh? Even a roided up Roger Clemens had a rough patch once in a while.

At first, I told "The Huge Show" listeners they were crazy

Anyone that voluntarily listens to “The Huge Show” is obviously crazy.

to question a man who looks like he was born to be a Tiger.

What does “looks like he was born to be a Tiger” even mean? This guy?
JV is almost untouchable when it comes to criticism from anyone in the media, especially here in Michigan.

Get ‘em, Bill. Go where the rest of the media is obviously AFRAID to go! (Despite every Detroit columnist already having covered this topic…)

I think it’s time to debate if this is just rough patch in the season, or a real problem.

Oh, please do. I’m sure your points will be full of insight and logic.

/picture that sentence in sarcasm font

We all can see he is not the same dominating force on the mound he has been the past three years.

Verlander’s Strikeouts Per Nine Innings

2010: 8.8
2011: 9.0
2012: 9.0
2013: 10.2

Yup. He’s fucked.

I’m starting to wonder whether Verlander’s arm might just need rest, or if there is more to this story.

I’m starting to wonder if a real sports talk radio host writes weekly columns published on mLive or if a chimp with a learning disability somehow churns these bad boys out for us.
It’s a definite possibility. Read on.

Without breaking down a ton of numbers,

Yeah. Forget that crap. That might require work. And it might give real answers. Let’s just wildly speculate about some stupid shit instead.

it’s obvious there is something different about Verlander this season. His fastball isn’t consistently as fast as it has been in the past.

Good. It’s when he tries to show off and throw 100 mph that he gets in trouble. See last year’s All-Star Game, for example.

He hit 98 on the gun in his last start. It’s still there if he needs it. But I think everyone agrees that Verlander went from good pitcher to great pitcher once he learned to dial back the heater and focus on location. Now location…THAT has been his problem this year, if you insist on finding one.

But the lack of movement on his fastball concerns me more than the radar gun reading.

A lack of movement would lead you to think balls would be crushed off of him. But his home runs per 9 innings are lower than they’ve been in his career, matching the 0.6 he put up in 2010. I don’t think that’s the problem.

His early inning struggles are alarming, and control issues occasionally surface.

Now control…that is a different matter. He’s walking 3.2 batters per nine, the highest number since he walked 3.9 per nine in 2008. Others have noticed that his release point seems off this year and that may be a simple mechanical issue that can be cleared up easily. Max Scherzer fixed a similar problem with his mechanics in 2010.

For more on JV’s release point, read Rob’s article from BYB here.

But back to Bill’s article. Hey, Huge…say something insane for us.

Do I dare say he doesn’t have the swagger of an ace?

That’s it. It’s not his release point. It’s not bad luck. It’s not too many Doritos Locos Tacos from the Bell. No, it’s his lack of swagger. Quick, someone get Barack Obama a ticket to Detroit to show Justin how to walk WITH A PURPOSE.

Has his confidence taken a hit? He’s not even the best pitcher on his team, but he makes $20 million a year.

You hear that, everyone? On May 11th, his ERA was 1.93. A few rough starts later and he’s no longer the best pitcher on his team. He’s finished. The highest paid #4 starter in baseball. Justin “Joe Blanton” Verlander.

Justin Brooks Verlander has spoiled this ungrateful fucking fanbase.

Opposing hitters do not fear Verlander right now and are making him look human.

Hey, dickbag…NEWS FLASH: He IS human. You know what else? Even with his “struggles”, he’s still pretty damn good.

This flawed, SWAGGERLESS Verlander you speak of is currently still the 11th best pitcher in all of baseball in WAR. He’s 4th in K/9. Verlander is 14th in FIP and 19th in xFIP. IN ALL OF BASEBALL.

He’s also been very unlucky. Only two other pitchers in the game have a higher BABIP than Verlander’s .347. He is beyond due for this number to start coming down.

Tigers nation doesn’t want this.

Don’t call Tigers fans that. We are not asshole Red Sox fans. But many are becoming like them…dammit.

Fans love to watch him make striking out major leaguers look easy.

As I said earlier, his K rate is the highest of his career. He is tied for 7th in all of baseball in K’s, only 12 away from second place. Strikeouts are still there, shithead.

I hope the six-plus years of heavy innings and 100 mph fastballs with the Tigers hasn’t made Verlander just another arm in the big leagues.

Just another arm? You’ve gotta be fist-fucking me. In 12 of his 16 starts, Verlander has allowed three earned runs or less. Six times, he has allowed one run or less. Even at his worst, Justin Verlander is still a top fifteen pitcher in all of baseball.

Just another arm. You really are the worst.

JV is so important to the future of the franchise. Ownership paid him in the offseason to pitch like an MVP for years to come. Verlander needs to find his groove again.

Yes, Justin. Find you groove. And SWAGGER.

Some people try to tell me Verlander is backing off throwing hard to save himself for the playoffs. I find that hard to believe.

Other people’s wild speculation based on nothing: Hard to believe.

Bill’s wild speculation based on nothing: GOSPEL.

I also find it hard to stomach that his very public fling with Kate Upton has anything to do with how fast he is throwing the baseball. Some even say once he got the big money, he lost his motivation.

People that say this are the kind of mouth-breathers that keep the National Enquirer and TMZ in business. Otherwise, they are known as Yankees fans.

The guy isn’t mailing it in. My opinion is that Verlander’s arm has carried a heavy load the past six years. I don’t know if he’ll ever get that fastball back.

Again, he hit 98 the other day. It’s still there. He’s better without it. And he’s only 30 years old. We’re not talking about a guy at the end of his career with four thousand innings pitched. Besides, we’re only talking about a one mile per hour difference on the average pitch. He didn’t go from JV to Jamie Moyer out there.

You’re overreacting is the stuff of horribly written sitcoms on Fox. It may sound odd from a person like me, but grow up, dude. Act like you've watched baseball before.

He might have to adjust on the fly with different out pitches. The massive money invested in his ability to get people out requires him to be better for his team and the fans.

Well, it’s not exactly required to pitch well while collecting a fortune. Ask Dontrelle Willis or Nate Robertson.

If he can’t hold leads or get people out,

A “bad” Verlander is the 11th best pitcher in all of baseball in WAR. And this shithead has jumped all the way to “he can’t hold leads or get people out”.

My God, you are the fucking worst ever. I cannot possibly say that enough.

it might be better to give his megamillion dollar arm a rest and see if Verlander can be The Man again.

Step One: Take a nap.
Step Two: ???
Step Three: Be The Man.


This might be the only time I give Tigers manager Jim Leyland a green light to rest one of his best players.

Yeah. No days off for the rest of you! EVER! Quit limping, Austin Jackson, you pussy! NO DAYS OFF! Hugh hath spoken!

What could possibly go wrong with that strategy?

My head hurts.

Justin Verlander will be fine. Has he not been as great as we’ve seen in the past? Sure. But he hasn’t fallen off a cliff the way some are making it sound. He isn’t hurt. He isn’t washed up.

He will be fine. Chill out. I’m more concerned with the bullpen, Alex Avila, left field, and the poor soul dressed as Paws having a heat stroke than I am about JV’s fucking swagger on the mound.

For a good read about Verlander’s season, check out this article by John McGeehan. Unlike Bill, he actually bothered to do research.

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