A daily accumulation of history and present as I follow the 2011 year through the baseball season and reflect on the glories and disappointments of the greatest game on Earth.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Justin Verlander

So it's Friday night, and Derek Lowe is announced as having a potential no hitter going, but 2 batters into the 7th, he had lost the no hitter and now faced runners on 2nd and 3rd after Polanco hit a ground rule double, so he was gone. Nevertheless, the Phillies were shut down and beaten by the Braves.
Then, Jaime Garcia is announced as having a perfect game going. This goes nicely until he gets to the 8th inning, when he gets the first batter out but loses the perfecto with a walk to McGehee and a single to Bettancourt that immediately followed. However, one double play later, the threat was done, and save one Rickie Weeks double in the 9th, the Cards were victorious.
The next night, the Brew Crew followed up their loss with a pitching performance of their own as Yovani Gallardo threw a 1-hitter against St. Louis, stifling Pujols, Holliday, and Berkman, but losing it all in the 7th to Daniel Descalso and his .229 average.
Sunday night, Anibal Sanchez took a no hitter into the top of the 7th. Things aren't pretty with an error and a hit by pitch, but it's another close, but no cigar proving that he's worth more to the Marlins now than Josh Beckett is to the Red Sox (who did get a good game out of Clay Bucholz on Saturday as well, but he was yanked after 5 innings due to a long rain delay).
But the game of games was Justin Verlander, whose 2nd no hitter is establishing his dominance in a Mark Buehrle kind of way (he's now the 30th pitcher with 2 no nos). Sure, he's got a great WHIP (.98) and a very good ERA (3.16), but he plays for Detroit. Sure, he has a lot of strikeouts, and he does have a mid 3 ERA for his career (1 bad year in there), but he's not the posterboy for glossy greatness.
Nevertheless, he was flat out dealing against the Blue Jays on Saturday when he literally mowed down Toronto only to get hosed on a walk that he let up in a 12-pitch at bat in the 8th.
And while Jose Bautista, who is REALLY surprising me this year, wasn't in the lineup, he was dominant to the tune of fooling batters with 100 mile per hour heat. He may have only whiffed 4 of them, but with only 1 runner on base... that's nasty (as compared to 12 strikeouts and 4 walks in June of 2007).
So alas... it really is becoming part 2 of the year of the pitcher.
Here's to more and nastier... even if we don't get a repeat of Dallas Braden's Mother's Day perfecto.

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