Saturday, January 29, 2011

Verlander Needs To Get Off To A Quick Start

One of the keys to the Detroit Tigers' season is the success of Justin Verlander. That's fairly obvious to anyone who watches the game of baseball. What Verlander needs to do in particular, is get off to a good start. That's something this team is going to need from their number one starter. If that happens the Tigers can surprise early.

In the past Verlander has struggled early. Not where he can't get the ball over the plate, but he ges knocked around a bit early in the season. I don't have the stats sitting here in front of me, but I'm pretty sure I'm right. He gets some early wins but not enough for others to doubt his status as the staff ace. His record usually hovers around .500 for his first six to eight starts before he hits a midseason run where he looks unbeatable before looking kinda ordinary toward the end of the year. He has Cy Young stuff and ability, he just needs more consistency from end to end.

Verlander is clearly the key to the rotation. If he can battle hard enough the offense will get him enough run support. I don't doubt his ability to be a top of the line starter, sometimes he makes me wonder though. I still feels like he has his moments where he wants to dial it up and try to blow everyone away. He's been around long enough to know that's not the way to pitch. If he wants to be in the Cy Young conversation, he has to get rid of that mentality. I'm not saying abandon the bread and butter fastball. Just don't rely on it to get you out of a jam. You gotta let the players behind you make plays sometimes. I know, for the Tigers that might be a stretch since some of the players in the field are better suited to a beer league. But you just can't  keep pumping fastballs over the plate. Verlander is good. The rest of the staff is good. But they can be a whole lot better and having Verlander off to a quick start may be the key early on.

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