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News » Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch 2009-04-18

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch 2009-04-18

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch 2009-04-18
If 2008 was a humbling year for Justin Verlander, 2009 looks so far to be a learning season.

Except for one short tract near the middle of last summer, Verlander looked nothing at all like the pitcher who had won 35 games his first two full seasons as a Major League pitcher.

His pitch counts kept him from getting past the fifth, or sixth, most of the time and many of the strikes he threw were hit pretty good.

This spring Verlander set about making some changes, with the help of new pitching coach Rick Knapp. He dropped his arm angle an inch or so and softened his landing foot in an effort to get a fastball that had sunk to the low 90s, back up to the high 90s, where it sat most of the time he was winning those 35 games.

Verlander was cuffed around pretty good in his first start of this season, although the consensus was his fastball was moving while his curve and his changeup were quality pitches.

So in his second start, Verlander went almost exclusively to his fastball. While he didn't win, he was very effective and looked sharper overall than he did most of the time last season.

On Friday night, Verlander came out relying on his fastball again. But he also mixed in more curves and a few changeups.

He had no-hit stuff -- and in fact didn't allow a runner until giving up three straight hits and losing his composure in the fifth. Seattle wound up scoring five of its six runs and hung a 6-3 loss on Verlander, who started rushing his pitches and overthrowing in his one bad inning.

But he's on the right track, it would seem. He just needs to keep learning.

MARINERS 6, TIGERS 3: RHP Justin Verlander couldn't stop the bleeding in the fifth inning. Verlander, relying on fastballs that hit a peak of 99 mph, had a perfect game through four innings Friday night but surrendered five runs in the fifth and now is winless in three starts this season. 3B Brandon Inge guided a two-run single through the left side in the second inning and SS Ramon Santiago followed with a safety squeeze as the Tigers collected all their runs in one inning. Verlander recovered from his bad inning to post scoreless sixth and seventh innings and was taken out after allowing another run in the eighth.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: April 18, 2009

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