Like so many great pitchers, you want to get to Justin Verlander early before he establishes his rhythm and gets into controlling the batter and at bats.
Take a look at Verlander's 2012 inning-by-inning results
However, when you are dealing with major league batters you are dealing with pros who make adjustments. You can see that particularly the second time Verlander faces a batter.
But, what makes Verlander one of the greats of the game is his ability to move into a whole new gear as the game progresses and become an even more effective pitcher the third time the batter faces him.
Take a look at plate appearances:
|1st PA in G, as SP||303||275||19||55||4||23||82||.200||.260||.320||.580|
|2nd PA in G, as SP||296||280||28||74||10||13||66||.264||.298||.411||.709|
|3rd PA in G, as SP||276||256||22||48||5||17||63||.188||.246||.285||.532|
|4th+ PA in G, as SP||81||73||9||15||0||7||28||.205||.284||.233||.517|
As you can see, if Verlander faces a batter a fourth time, he is tremendously effective but what you really must marvel at is his control. Of the 81 fourth time in a game plate appearances, Verlander only issued seven walks.
If you really want to be impressed check out Verlander's fastball, inning-by-inning
- Verlander threw 275 1st inning fastballs, averaging 93.5 mph and maxing out at 99.1.
- Verlander threw 242 2nd inning fastballs, averaging 93.9 mph and maxing out at 98.6.
- Verlander threw 259 3rd inning fastballs, averaging 94.2 mph and maxing out at 98.1.
- Verlander threw 275 4th inning fastballs, averaging 95.0 mph and maxing out at 101.4.
- Verlander threw 257 5th inning fastballs, averaging 94.9 mph and maxing out at 100.4.
- Verlander threw 225 6th inning fastballs, averaging 94.8 mph and maxing out at 100.0.
- Verlander threw 166 7th inning fastballs, averaging 95.3 mph and maxing out at 100.7.
- Verlander threw 118 8th inning fastballs, averaging 96.0 mph and maxing out at 101.5.
- Verlander threw 58 9th inning fastballs, averaging 97.0 mph and maxing out at 100.3.
Grouped by innings:
- Innings 1-3: Verlander threw 776 fastballs, averaging 93.9 mph and maxing out at 99.1.
- Innings 4-6: Verlander threw 757 fastballs, averaging 94.9 mph and maxing out at 101.4.
- Innings 7-9: Verlander threw 342 fastballs, averaging 95.8 mph and maxing out at 101.5.
An aspect of Verlander's greatness is his ability to mix location, accuracy, with a variance of speed.
Overall, this regular season:
- Verlander threw 1875 fastballs, averaging 94.6 mph and maxing out at 101.5.
- Verlander threw 839 change-ups, averaging 86.7 mph and maxing out at 91.0.
- Verlander threw 579 curveballs, averaging 79.4 mph and maxing out at 86.3.
- Verlander threw 466 sliders, averaging 84.6 mph and maxing out at 90.8.