OK, let’s get a little clarity going here.
We already know Detroit has the best hitter in baseball – Miguel Cabrera.
Can we cut to the chase and just anoint Justin Verlander as the best pitcher, too?
Would it be so hard to admit he is unbeatable when he’s on, either?
Apparently when a tough-talkin’, talented New York writer turned online opinion-giver is so geared on making his point about how lame the Yankees’ offense, it is.
The premise: a depleted Bronx Bombers’ lineup, bordering on deplorable, actually had a chance against the hard-throwing right-hander in Game 3 of the ALCS … if they just hung in there and took a few more pitches.
Sorry, this is like the reverse image of the Philly media in a different era shrinking Charles Barkley to enhance his rebounding exploits. Chuck checked in at 6-7.5 at Auburn, but actually managed to stretch the tape to a mere 6-4.75 in the NBA. Pundits in the City of Brotherly Love, so enamored with the little guy dominating the glass theory actually slipped him down to 6-3.5 at one point.
If not for a trade to Phoenix, Barkley may have ended up playing in an under 6-foot league.
You get the idea – sometimes reality gets, um, extended, one way or the other.
In this case, though, give it a rest. Take shots at the Yankees, sure. But at the expense of Verlander’s greatness, to any degree, no.
With apologies to 2012 20-game winners David Price, Jered Weaver, Gio Gonzalez, Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw, and anyone else who might float a particular crowd’s boat, Detroit’s ace is as good as it gets these days, and when he’s on … well, fuhgettaboutit.
Tuesday night, he registered about a 6 or 7 in regard to the “on” scale. In other words, he didn’t blow the doors off the Yankees. But they really didn’t stand a chance, unless they got a great pitching performance … and they made Verlander work.
That’s the beauty of the whole deal, New York got both. Six pitches combined to scatter seven hits and two runs in eight innings for the Yankees at sold-out Comerica Park. The visitors also forced baseball’s strikeout king to throw a 2012 high – that’s post- and regular-season – 132 pitches on a night when he only registered three Ks.
If you want to get statistically technical about it, the big fella generally averages 15.8 pitches per inning. He was at 16.5 in this one.
Thing is, right now, he is that good … so when teams even accomplish their goals and do whatever they conceivably can against him, it doesn’t matter. Because of he’s on, it’s over.
Thus far in the postseason, Verlander is 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA. He has 25 Ks in 24.1 innings … and, you know what, he really hasn’t unleashed his 9 or 10 “on” game.
That only furthers confirms that, yeah, he is unbeatable.
Kudos to the undermanned Yankees for actually giving it their best shot. They just didn’t have a legit one in going up against him.
New York will try to salvage some self respect at least tonight in Game 4. The Yanks, down 3-0 in the best-of-seven series, send CC Sabathia to the mound in the hopes of extending their season. Detroit counters with Max Scherzer, who did get bounced by New York after 4.2 innings the one time he faced it this season, giving up three runs while issuing seven walks. He is, however, a strikeout machine, recording 231 Ks in the regular to trail only Verlander’s 239 – while working in almost 50 less innings. Sabathia has been excellent this postseason, racking up a 2-0 record and 1.53 ERA.847637