The Tigers offense contributed nine runs in support of their ace today at Rogers Centre in Toronto. Justin Verlander took care of the rest.
Verlander faced the minimum of 27 batters and not one of them collected a base hit. The only baserunner he allowed was an eigth inning walk to J.P. Arencibia, on the 12th pitch of the at bat. Arencibia didn’t stay on the bases long though, Verlander got a double play ball to end the inning. The only real threat of any Jays getting a hit was when Edwin Encarnacion lined a shot back up the middle in the fifth. Verlander knocked it down, recovered the ball as it rolled back towards the plate, and fired the ball to first to nab the runner.
While his fastball was routinely 99-101 mph today, Verlander had only four strikeouts. In his first no-hitter in 2007, Verlander had fanned 12 Brewers. Today, he had ‘em swinging early in the count and was getting easy outs. This was the seventh no-hitter in Tigers history and Verlander is the second Tiger with two no-nos, the other being Virgil Trucks, who completed the feat twice in one season; the summer on 1952.
This is the kind of performance that fans know can happen any time he takes the mound. Rod Allen said after the game that he doesn’t feel we’ve seen the last no-hitter from Verlander, I tend to agree with him. Every time he goes to the mound, he has a chance to do something special. Perhaps that’s why it’s so frustrating when he falls victim to those big innings he can sometime give up.
He didn’t have the great breaking ball today, but it was good enough. He was spot-on with his control all day. You can see him fly open and leave his fastball up and away to left handers in any Verlander start, but you didn’t see that today. He was in total command and total control all day long, even through two long half innings when the offense was putting up runs. And the offense really should be mentioned here, but this was Verlander’s day, so this is Verlander’s post.
Tigers fans were robbed of seeing history last June, but Verlander gives you a chance to see something special every time he goes out there. Today, he delivered on that promise.
Congratulations, Justin, and thanks for giving us something to remember yet again.