There used to be a time when the White Sox didn't think much of Justin Verlander -- specifically, his first three full years in the league. He racked up plenty of personal accomplishments, winning 17 games and Rookie of the Year in 2006, then adding 18 more and a fifth-place finish in the Cy Young race in 2007.
It took a while for the White Sox to blink at his triple-digit heat. But once they did, Verlander kept them flinching:
Given Verlander's run of success against the Sox -- and the Sox's complete lack of success in pretty much all facets of team play this season -- the 11-4 stomping of the Detroit Tigers with the ace on the mound came as quite a surprise.
Even before the eighth-inning collapse, Verlander didn't look overpowering. He didn't record a 1-2-3 inning all night, and only faced the minimum when Alejandro De Aza couldn't locate the ball when Alexei Ramirez popped up a hit-and-run attempt in the seventh inning.
Alex Rios had his number in particular, becoming the first player to ever collect four hits against him in one game. That set the wheels in motion, as he was the first of four batters Verlander faced in the eighth inning and couldn't retire.
Thanks to Adam Dunn's big-two run blast, and Dayan Viciedo knocking in the inherited runners with a three-run shot after Verlander departed, his run of dominance is over -- or at least abruptly interrupted.
|2009-06-10||W 2-1||CG 9 ,W||9.0||6||1||1||1||9||1||122||79|
|2009-07-24 (1)||W 5-1||CG 9 ,W||9.0||6||1||0||4||4||0||127||73|
|2009-10-04||W 5-3||GS-8 ,W||7.2||6||3||3||2||5||0||120||58|
|2010-09-07||W 9-1||GS-7 ,W||7.0||5||1||1||1||7||0||121||69|
|2010-09-18||W 6-3||CG 9 ,W||9.0||6||3||3||1||8||0||123||70|
|2011-04-22||W 9-3||GS-7 ,W||7.0||4||3||3||0||8||3||117||65|
|2011-06-04||W 4-2||GS-8 ,W||8.0||7||2||2||1||7||1||112||66|
|2011-07-15||L 2-8||GS-6 ,L||6.0||7||5||4||2||6||0||110||44|
|2011-07-26||W 5-4||GS-8 ,W||8.0||7||4||4||1||7||2||125||58|
|2011-09-02||W 8-1||GS-8 ,W||7.1||7||1||1||1||6||1||106||65|
|2011-09-13||W 5-0||GS-7 ,W||7.0||6||0||0||2||6||0||106||69|
|2012-07-20||W 4-2||GS-8 ,W||8.0||4||2||2||2||6||1||121||70|
|2012-09-02||W 4-2||GS-8 ,W||8.0||4||1||1||2||11||1||124||79|
|2013-07-09||L 11-4||GS-8 ,L||7.0||12||5||5||1
- Nearly seven years since the Sox tagged Verlander for 10 or more hits in a game.
- Five years since Verlander posted a game score under 40 against the Sox.
- Nearly five years since Verlander finished a start against the Sox with fewer than four strikeouts.
One pitch in particular shocked me -- the 3-1 fastball Dayan Viciedo knocked out of the park to left to tie the game at 1 in the sixth inning. Viciedo's been having problems with the high fastball at year, and his single the at-bat before was his first hit off him in 11 tries (four strikeouts).
Yet he had no problems getting the barrel on Verlander's 90-mph heater:
I thought Comerica Park's gun might have been cold, because the readings looked off for the White Sox's two pitchers. Jose Quintana's fastball only averaged 90 mph when he usually averages 92, and Simon Castro hung around 89, down a couple ticks from his only other outing. Still, even if Verlander was faster than advertised, he didn't seem to overwhelm the Sox this time around. He's talked about a battle with mechanics this year, and maybe the Sox stand to benefit from that war.