Alex Avila Alex Avila

Rapid Reactions: Verlander Continues to Amaze

  • Amazing. That’s the word Tigers catcher Alex Avila has been using to describe right hander Justin Verlander. That’s the word he picked again tonight after catching JV’s latest gem. Eight innings, four hits, no runs and a career-high 14 strikeouts. Amazing.
  • Avila had himself a game. Not only did he call Verlander’s performance, but he added a three-run homer, a double and a single in four trips. Of course that single was a fun one. Avila thought his drive to left had cleared the fence and he was well into trot mode when he suddenly realized the ball was on its way to second base. The ball had hit halfway up the wall in left. Avila was out by 15 feet.
  • There is a difference between Verlander and every other pitcher in the American League this year, and maybe all of baseball. After the game, Rod Allen called him the best right hander going right now. It’s real tough to argue that one.
  • Cleveland dropped a 1-0 decision at San Francisco today, so the Tigers have climbed back into a tie for first place. It’s gonna be a long season yet, and the drama is only just starting, but this Tigers team look better than the previous few years.
  • Fun Fact: Through 5.2 innings tonight, Verlander had nine strikeouts. At that point, every Diamondback player had struck out exactly once. You don’t see that happen very often. Stephen Drew ruined the synergy by fanning for the second time to end the sixth.
  • Verlander has now won six straight starts and allowed 2 ER or fewer in each of them. The last Tigers to go on such a run? Doyle Alexander in 1987.
  • Verlander’s 14 strikeouts tonight moved him past a couple of all-time greats. JV passed Wild Bill Donovan for tenth all-time in strikeouts with the club. His 19th career double-digit strikeout game which moved him past Denny McLain for fourth most by a Tigers since 1920.