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Entries in Justin Verlander (21)

Tuesday
Oct232012

The Great Justin Verlander Inning-by-Inning

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

SplitIPERERAPAABRHHRBBSOBA
1st inning 33.0 15 4.09 139 120 16 28 4 15 31 .233
2nd inning 33.0 7 1.91 128 124 7 26 0 4 33 .210
3rd inning 33.0 10 2.73 132 121 10 25 3 8 35 .207
4th inning 33.0 15 4.09 135 124 17 32 4 10 32 .258
5th inning 33.0 9 2.45 130 124 12 31 5 6 31 .250
6th inning 31.2 3 0.85 125 116 4 20 0 7 24 .172
7th inning 21.1 5 2.11 90 83 8 18 3 6 24 .217
8th inning 15.0 1 0.60 52 50 1 6 0 2 23 .120
9th inning 5.1 5 8.44 25 22 3 6 0 2 6 .273
Innings 1-3 99.0 32 2.91 399 365 33 79 7 27 99 .216
Innings 4-6 97.2 27 2.49 390 364 33 83 9 23 87 .228
Innings 7-9 41.2 11 2.38 167 155 12 30 3 10 53 .194
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 10/23/2012.

 

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:

SplitPAABRHHRBBSOBAOBPSLGOPS
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
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 10/23/2012.

 

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.
Yes, you are reading that correctly. Verlander threw heat from the start but was throwing harder at the end.

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.

 

Wednesday
Oct172012

Another Magnificent Win for Verlander

There should be no debate on this point:

If you have one game to win, and you are looking for one pitcher, his name has to be Justin Verlander.

Discussion over.

Verlander proved it again last night as he held the Yankees to a pair of Ichiro Suzuki singles and a 9th inning leadoff homer by Eduardo Nunez, as his Tigers defeated the Yankees, 2-1, to put the Tigers up 3-0 in the ALCS and the Yankees on the brink of re-evaluating the future of their aging team.

Now it's not as if the Yankees didn't battle Verlander.

"There were some good at-bats tonight. The ball was not carrying tremendously well tonight, we know that," Yankee manager Joe Girardi told the AP. "But I think he ended up with three strikeouts. So our guys put the ball in play and tried to get on base, but, you know, when you face Verlander, you know what you're up against."

Verlander did indeed have just three strikeouts.

Over the last two brilliant seasons, in which Verlander has recorded 489 strikeouts in 489.1 innings pitched, he has had five three-strikeout games in the regular season.

RkDateTmOppRsltApp,DecIPHRERBBSOPitStr
1 2012-09-08 DET LAA L 1-6 GS-6 ,L 6.0 9 6 6 2 3 97 60
2 2012-06-19 DET STL W 6-3 GS-7 ,W 7.0 5 3 1 4 3 108 70
3 2011-05-29 (2) DET BOS W 3-0 GS-8 ,W 7.2 4 0 0 2 3 132 83
4 2011-05-24 DET TBR W 7-6 GS-6 6.0 9 6 6 0 2 104 66
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/17/2012.
           

If you are looking for a similar start from the list above, the most like last night's win was Verlander's eight innings of shutout ball tossed against the Red Sox in 2011 when he threw 132 pitches (83 strikes) while striking out three. Last night, Verlander threw 132 pitches as well, with 86 strikes, with three strikeouts. 

Here are the most pitches this season for a pitcher who struck out three or less.

RkPlayerDateTmOppRsltApp,DecIPSOPitStr
1 Derek Lowe 2012-05-15 CLE MIN W  5-0 SHO9  ,W 9.0 0 127 76
                     
2 Gavin Floyd 2012-07-01 CHW NYY L  2-4 GS-6  ,L 5.1 3 122 70
                     
3 Jon Lester 2012-08-30 BOS LAA L  2-5 CG 8  ,L 8.0 2 121 77
                     
4 Johnny Cueto 2012-04-28 CIN HOU W  6-0 GS-7  ,W 7.0 3 120 78
                     
5 Anibal Sanchez 2012-08-29 DET KCR L  0-1 GS-7  ,L 7.0 1 119 77
                     
6 Jordan Lyles 2012-07-17 HOU SDP L  2-8 GS-6  ,L 6.0 3 118 75
7 Kyle Drabek 2012-05-21 TOR TBR W  6-2 GS-6  ,W 6.0 3 118 64
                     
8 Kevin Millwood 2012-08-31 SEA LAA L  1-9 GS-5  ,L 5.0 1 117 73
9 Ryan Vogelsong 2012-05-14 SFG COL W  3-2 GS-7 7.0 3 117 71
10 Madison Bumgarner 2012-04-12 SFG COL W  4-2 GS-8  ,W 7.1 2 117 75
                     
11 Chris Volstad 2012-09-21 CHC STL W  5-4 GS-5 5.0 0 116 68
12 Tim Hudson 2012-08-03 ATL HOU W  4-1 GS-8  ,W 7.1 3 116 72
13 Aaron Harang 2012-06-29 LAD NYM L  0-9 GS-6  ,L 5.2 3 116 68
14 Mark Buehrle 2012-05-05 MIA SDP W  4-1 CG 9  ,W 9.0 3 116 77











Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Play Index Tool Used Generated 10/17/2012.         

 

The Yankees battled Verlander on two strikes

 

Verlander last night threw 41 two-strike pitches. The Yankees swung at 32 and missed on just three. They put 13 in play and fouled off 16.  But as further testimony of his control (he walked no one) but he knew how to tempt and fool the Yankees: Of these 32 wo-strike pitches, only 18 were in the strike zone and the Yankees chased 14. 

Verlander is a pitcher, not just a thrower and despite throwing so many pitches, his pitch speed per inning showed more than his strength and his consistency, but it also showed his ability to pace himself and save enough in the tank for when he needed it.    

 

Verlander inning-by-inning

1st inning: 92.6 average velocity/95.3 maximum velocity

2nd inning: 90.1 average velocity/95.3 maximum velocity

3rd inning: 94.6 average velocity/97.0 maximum velocity

4th inning: 92.7 average velocity/97.0 maximum velocity

5th inning: 91.2 average velocity/96.7 maximum velocity

6th inning: 91.4 average velocity/97.4 maximum velocity

7th inning: 91.4 average velocity/98.2 maximum velocity

8th inning: 91.6 average velocity/98.4 maximum velocity

9th inning: 91.8 average velocity/99.3 maximum velocity

From the 5th inning on, Verlander's average velocity increased each inning and his maximum velocity increased as well.

C'mon, is there a better, more valuable pitcher around than Justin Verlander?
I think not.

 

 

 

Thursday
Oct112012

Justin Verlander will go deep because Valverde is struggling

The great Jim Leyland, manager of the Detroit Tigers, seems to always believe in his own decisions. Detroit Tigers fans have to be hoping that Leyland is deciding to go with Justin Verlander for as long as he can carry his team.

This is not something that would go against Leyland's grain.

Look how often Verlander's name appears in the top 20 games of pitches thrown in a game this season:

RkPlayerDateTmOppRsltApp,DecIPHBBSOHRPitStr
1 Johan Santana 2012-06-01 NYM STL W 8-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 0 5 8 0 134 77
                           
2 Edinson Volquez 2012-07-05 SDP CIN W 2-1 GS-7 7.0 5 3 10 0 133 82
                           
3 Justin Verlander 2012-08-06 DET NYY W 7-2 GS-8 ,W 8.0 9 1 14 0 132 96
                           
4 Justin Verlander 2012-04-16 DET KCR W 3-2 CG 9 ,W 9.0 7 2 9 0 131 85
                           
5 R.A. Dickey 2012-09-27 NYM PIT W 6-5 GS-8 ,W 7.2 8 2 13 1 128 92
6 Cole Hamels 2012-07-21 PHI SFG L 5-6 GS-8 7.2 10 3 6 3 128 83
7 Felix Hernandez 2012-06-28 SEA BOS W 1-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 5 1 13 0 128 84
                           
8 Justin Verlander 2012-06-09 DET CIN W 3-2 GS-6 6.0 6 3 9 0 127 85
9 Derek Lowe 2012-05-15 CLE MIN W 5-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 6 4 0 0 127 76
                           
10 Trevor Cahill 2012-09-29 ARI CHC W 8-2 CG 9 ,W 9.0 4 3 9 1 126 81
11 Dan Haren 2012-05-24 LAA SEA W 3-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 4 0 14 0 126 83
12 Josh Beckett 2012-04-29 BOS CHW L 1-4 GS-7 ,L 6.2 6 3 8 1 126 85
13 Felix Hernandez 2012-04-19 SEA CLE L 1-2 GS-8 8.0 5 1 12 0 126 75
                           
14 Chris Tillman 2012-07-04 BAL SEA W 4-2 GS-9 ,W 8.1 2 2 7 0 125 79
15 Carlos Zambrano 2012-06-26 MIA STL L 2-5 GS-7 ,L 6.2 8 5 5 1 125 73
16 Jake Peavy 2012-06-19 CHW CHC L 1-2 CG 9 ,L 9.0 5 1 5 0 125 83
17 Matt Cain 2012-06-13 SFG HOU W 10-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 0 0 14 0 125 86
18 Clay Buchholz 2012-06-07 BOS BAL W 7-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 4 1 6 0 125 78
19 C.J. Wilson 2012-05-22 LAA OAK W 5-0 GS-8 ,W 8.0 1 2 7 0 125 75
                           
20 Justin Verlander 2012-09-02 DET CHW W 4-2 GS-8 ,W 8.0 4 2 11 1 124 80
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/11/2012.
  • Verlander threw 3768 pitches this season and 268.1 innings to lead the league and the Tigers will need him to give them pitches and innings tonight because the A's are ready to come back against Jose Valverde and the Tigers bullpen.
  • Valverde saved 35 games but blew five saves during the regular season after going 49-0 during the 2011 season.
  • The average team in the AL blew 16 saves: the Tigers blew 16 saves.
  • The average AL team had 73 holds: the Tigers had 74.
  • The average AL team allowed 29% of inherited runners to score; the Tigers allowed 31% of these taxing runners to score.
  • The average AL bullpen lost 19 games; the Tigers lost 23, only the White Sox and the Mariners' pen lost more with 25.

What's going on with Valverde? 

Jose Valverde in 2011

Yes, I know this is a red blob, but look at the breakdown of his pitch location:

I will explain: Valverde threw 1209 pitches, 48.7% were in the strike zone, 29.1% were in the vertical middle of the strike zone, 28.1% were down, 29.5% were on the inside, 24.0% were in the horizontal middle, and 46.5% were away.

Jose Valverde in 2012

The differences are subtle, but they exist.

You can see the differences in pitches in the vertical middle, particularly against lefties. The other differences can be found on inside pitches, which may reflect either a lack of control or lack of confidence.

Here's Valverde's 2012 postseason: 

There is no blob.

Valverde, who dropped on avg pitch speed from 91.9 in 2011 to 91.3 in 2012, has dropped to 90.7 in postseason.

Here's his location:

Look how many pitches are up now up in the zone...waiting to get hit.

I don't know if there is something wrong with Valverde or he is simply a tired pitcher, but expect Leyland to give Verlander the ball tonight and unplug the bullpen phone.

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