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News » Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch 2009-04-17

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch 2009-04-17

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch 2009-04-17
The real ace of the Tigers pitching staff isn't going against the Seattle Mariners on Friday -- he pitched Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox.

Justin Verlander gets the nominal title of the top pitcher in the rotation because he won 35 games in his first two seasons, many of them in dominating fashion, and he throws a fastball that tops out at about 97 mph, a couple of ticks lower than when he first joined the Tigers.

Armando Galarraga throws a peak fastball of about 93 mph, and then only on occasion, but his spinners, darters and sliders seldom see the heart of the plate, which is something Verlander couldn't say last year.

Verlander allowed eight runs in his first start this season and three in his second (two unearned). He had six walks and 12 strikeouts. Galarraga allowed one run in his two starts combined with three walks and 13 strikeouts.

Look at last season, too.

Verlander worked 201 innings and allowed 195 hits with 87 walks and 163 strikeouts. He was 11-17 with a 4.84 ERA.

Galarraga pitched 178 2/3 innings with 152 hits, 61 walks and 126 strikeouts. He was 12-7 with a 3.73 ERA.

Verlander has thrown a no-hitter; Galarraga almost did.

The difference seems to be that Galarraga has gone through arm trouble and some difficult outings. It taught him how to pitch; in other words, to make every pitch move, to mix them up and make adjustments within games.

Verlander might have taken a significant step in that direction this spring when he changed his delivery slightly, softening his landing foot and dropping his arm angle a hair. And he could have made another advancement in his latest start when he threw mostly fastballs that ranged from 92-97 mph with just a sprinkling of changeups and curves.

There's no question Verlander has better stuff. But there should also be no question that right now Galarraga pitches better.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: April 17, 2009

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