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« Yankees Hitters in October: An Autopsy | Main | Nine to Know: Breaking down Robinson Cano's postseason breakdown »

Another Magnificent Win for Verlander

There should be no debate on this point:

If you have one game to win, and you are looking for one pitcher, his name has to be Justin Verlander.

Discussion over.

Verlander proved it again last night as he held the Yankees to a pair of Ichiro Suzuki singles and a 9th inning leadoff homer by Eduardo Nunez, as his Tigers defeated the Yankees, 2-1, to put the Tigers up 3-0 in the ALCS and the Yankees on the brink of re-evaluating the future of their aging team.

Now it's not as if the Yankees didn't battle Verlander.

"There were some good at-bats tonight. The ball was not carrying tremendously well tonight, we know that," Yankee manager Joe Girardi told the AP. "But I think he ended up with three strikeouts. So our guys put the ball in play and tried to get on base, but, you know, when you face Verlander, you know what you're up against."

Verlander did indeed have just three strikeouts.

Over the last two brilliant seasons, in which Verlander has recorded 489 strikeouts in 489.1 innings pitched, he has had five three-strikeout games in the regular season.

Rk Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO Pit Str
1 2012-09-08 DET LAA L 1-6 GS-6 ,L 6.0 9 6 6 2 3 97 60
2 2012-06-19 DET STL W 6-3 GS-7 ,W 7.0 5 3 1 4 3 108 70
3 2011-05-29 (2) DET BOS W 3-0 GS-8 ,W 7.2 4 0 0 2 3 132 83
4 2011-05-24 DET TBR W 7-6 GS-6 6.0 9 6 6 0 2 104 66
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/17/2012.

If you are looking for a similar start from the list above, the most like last night's win was Verlander's eight innings of shutout ball tossed against the Red Sox in 2011 when he threw 132 pitches (83 strikes) while striking out three. Last night, Verlander threw 132 pitches as well, with 86 strikes, with three strikeouts. 

Here are the most pitches this season for a pitcher who struck out three or less.

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP SO Pit Str
1 Derek Lowe 2012-05-15 CLE MIN W  5-0 SHO9  ,W 9.0 0 127 76
2 Gavin Floyd 2012-07-01 CHW NYY L  2-4 GS-6  ,L 5.1 3 122 70
3 Jon Lester 2012-08-30 BOS LAA L  2-5 CG 8  ,L 8.0 2 121 77
4 Johnny Cueto 2012-04-28 CIN HOU W  6-0 GS-7  ,W 7.0 3 120 78
5 Anibal Sanchez 2012-08-29 DET KCR L  0-1 GS-7  ,L 7.0 1 119 77
6 Jordan Lyles 2012-07-17 HOU SDP L  2-8 GS-6  ,L 6.0 3 118 75
7 Kyle Drabek 2012-05-21 TOR TBR W  6-2 GS-6  ,W 6.0 3 118 64
8 Kevin Millwood 2012-08-31 SEA LAA L  1-9 GS-5  ,L 5.0 1 117 73
9 Ryan Vogelsong 2012-05-14 SFG COL W  3-2 GS-7 7.0 3 117 71
10 Madison Bumgarner 2012-04-12 SFG COL W  4-2 GS-8  ,W 7.1 2 117 75
11 Chris Volstad 2012-09-21 CHC STL W  5-4 GS-5 5.0 0 116 68
12 Tim Hudson 2012-08-03 ATL HOU W  4-1 GS-8  ,W 7.1 3 116 72
13 Aaron Harang 2012-06-29 LAD NYM L  0-9 GS-6  ,L 5.2 3 116 68
14 Mark Buehrle 2012-05-05 MIA SDP W  4-1 CG 9  ,W 9.0 3 116 77

Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Play Index Tool Used Generated 10/17/2012.         


The Yankees battled Verlander on two strikes


Verlander last night threw 41 two-strike pitches. The Yankees swung at 32 and missed on just three. They put 13 in play and fouled off 16.  But as further testimony of his control (he walked no one) but he knew how to tempt and fool the Yankees: Of these 32 wo-strike pitches, only 18 were in the strike zone and the Yankees chased 14. 

Verlander is a pitcher, not just a thrower and despite throwing so many pitches, his pitch speed per inning showed more than his strength and his consistency, but it also showed his ability to pace himself and save enough in the tank for when he needed it.    


Verlander inning-by-inning

1st inning: 92.6 average velocity/95.3 maximum velocity

2nd inning: 90.1 average velocity/95.3 maximum velocity

3rd inning: 94.6 average velocity/97.0 maximum velocity

4th inning: 92.7 average velocity/97.0 maximum velocity

5th inning: 91.2 average velocity/96.7 maximum velocity

6th inning: 91.4 average velocity/97.4 maximum velocity

7th inning: 91.4 average velocity/98.2 maximum velocity

8th inning: 91.6 average velocity/98.4 maximum velocity

9th inning: 91.8 average velocity/99.3 maximum velocity

From the 5th inning on, Verlander's average velocity increased each inning and his maximum velocity increased as well.

C'mon, is there a better, more valuable pitcher around than Justin Verlander?
I think not.




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