Last night Justin Verlander shut down the Boston Red Sox for his 10th win of the season and lowering his season ERA to 3.64. It wasn’t to long ago that Verlander’s success at the end of the 2015 season looked like a hiccup in a career that was heading down the wrong path as in his 6th start, Verlander was shelled by Cleveland for seven earned in 5 innings. After he took the loss vs. the Indians, Verlander was 2-3 with a 6.49 ERA.
After the game, Verlander tweeted that he was close and would dominate soon…
I’m going to dominate soon! I’m close. Doubt me if you want… We’ll see. #gotigers
— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) May 4, 2016
Everyone kind of said, sure you will and moved on. JV backed up those words and instead of last years late performance looking like an anomaly, it now looks like that early season struggle against Cleveland (and Pittsburgh) was the anomaly.
Since that tweet, JV has had 15 starts in which he is 8-3, with a 2.69 ERA, a .198 average against, and very interestingly seen his strike out rate bounce back to just under 10 per 9. That strike out rate is huge as some will remember that when Justin was really struggling, his K per 9 rate was 6.9 (2014) and also 6.9 in his first 11 starts last season.
Looking back to last season and starting with Justin’s first start after allowing 5 earned against KC on August 4th, Verlander has had 32 starts, in which he is 14-10. Nothing special in win/loss, unless you consider the Tigers were sinking fast after the trade deadline last season and are just a .500 team this year.
Moving on from win-loss, Verlander has thrown 213.2 innings in those 32 starts, averaging 6 2/3 innings per start with a 3.12 ERA, 1.044 WHIP, and striking out 9.15 per 9 innings. More amazing to me, is that JV has walked just 59 unintentionally in those 213.2 innings of work. It seems as if we’ve seen JV take that next step to evolve as a starting pitcher who can’t light it up a 99mph anymore, but has figured out how to toss at 93-94.
Lets hope he can keep it up and more interesting, has JV’s resurgence created a trade market for him if the Tigers decide to become sellers and dump his large contract.