Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Justin Verlander continues dominance
Justin Verlander became the first 19-game winner in the majors Monday night with a strong performance against the Tampa Bay Rays. Verlander struck out eight and allowed three hits over seven innings.
He has now won seven straight starts, the second time this season he's accomplished that feat. (He's the first pitcher with a pair of streaks like that since Frank Viola, with the 1988 Minnesota Twins).
In that span, he's gone at least seven innings and posted at least seven strikeouts.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he's the first pitcher with a streak that long reaching those parameters since Pedro Martinez did so over the 1999 and 2000 seasons, both years in which Martinez won the AL Cy Young award.
In addition, Verlander reached 19 wins in 127 team games, the fastest a Tigers pitcher has gotten to 19 wins since Mickey Lolich reached 19 wins in 114 team games in 1972.
Verlander joins Martinez and Greg Maddux as the only pitchers in the divisional era to post a WHIP of less than 0.90 (minimum 20 decisions).
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Verlander is 18-0 this season when the Tigers have scored at least three runs in his starts.
The last pitcher to finish a season 18-0 or better in games in which his team scored at least three runs was Martinez (19-0 in 2002 in starts when the Red Sox plated more than two runs).
ELSEWHERE AROUND THE MAJORS:
•Cliff Lee led the Philadelphia Phillies to a 10-0 win over the New York Mets, with seven shutout innings and seven strikeouts. Lee has won his past four decisions (allowed two runs in last 31 innings), and 10 of his past 12 decisions overall. He's 10-2 at home this season and is 6-1 against New York teams since 2008 (2-0, 0.43 ERA vs the Mets).
•With a scoreless inning in Monday’s 3-0 win over the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves reliever Jonny Venters continued an amazing recent run of success. Venters has now pitched 22 2/3 scoreless innings, a streak that began on July 4. In that span, opponents are 8-for-75 against him with 27 strikeouts (albeit, with 14 walks). Left-handed hitters are 2-for-24.
Left-handed hitters have missed on 33 of their 41 swings against Venters’ slider. He ranks first in the majors in miss percentage against his slider (80.5 percent)
Mark Simon contributed to this story