Earlier this season, Justin Verlander said he had demons to exorcise in the ninth inning of a game against the Kansas City Royals because he blew it against the Tampa Bay Rays in the ninth inning of his previous start. While he nearly coughed up another on April 16 at Kaufman Stadium, he ultimately closed out the complete-game win.
Whatever demons Verlander buried at Kaufman Stadium on that day came back to haunt him in his next two trips back, though. Verlander gave up 5 earned runs in an inning of work in the All-Star Game there and he just gave up a career high 8 earned runs in 5+ innings of work on Tuesday night, a 9-8 loss for the Tigers. That’s some real evil shit. The Royals’ house is not clear.
Demons and clarity. What was clear was that JV was horrible; he relied too heavily on his fastball in the first inning (12/18) with a 3-0 lead and he continued to get burned for it. He started to mix things up a bit in the second inning, but he was already mentally beaten off his game and ran into some bad luck along the way. Funny how it pours when it rains.
Delmon and clarity. What wasn’t so clear, and might have something to do with Kaufman Stadium housing evil spirits, was the ball Delmon Young hit in the ninth inning that would’ve (should’ve?) put the Tigers up 11-9. Take a look at each of the following screenshots — the ball is missing from both the foul angle and the fair angle:
For what it’s worth, I thought it was fair live, but the umpires thought differently. After the first replay, I thought for sure they would change their minds and overturn the call. However, the second replay, the one from fair territory, shows the ball disappear, too. That replay had a closer view, so I guess the umpires felt it was the more reliable of the two. After seeing it over and over and over and over again, I’m still not convinced one way or the other. It’s not clear to me, like it is to Daniel Dickerson.
What is unequivocally clear: Verlander needed to pitch better when given eight runs of support in a late August game against a team he normally dominates. If JV’s not careful, he’s going to get an ugly reputation that he can’t shake the demons in big games. I mean, look at his postseason numbers, his All-Star Game outing and now tonight. I think that’s the only area where he has some convincing left to do. Let’s hope on ESPN Sunday night against the 1st place White Sox, he performs some more exorcism. Until then, the Tigers need to first bounce back tomorrow, and so does Anibal Sanchez.
- Justin Verlander has given up 14 ER in his last 7.2 innings at Kaufman Stadium. He gave up a run in the 9th of his CG win and then the last two aforementioned outings. Ouch.
- Miguel Cabrera had a chance to tie the game in the 9th inning before Delmon Young was given an opportunity. He displayed a couple bad swings and then struck out on an even worse one. Cabrera has some great high leverage numbers, but his overall numbers in the 9th inning are among his worst.
- Austin Jackson was 3-for-3 with 2 walks after going 0-for-the-series against LAA.
- If ruled fair, Delmon would’ve had 2 HR and 5 RBI in the game. Nice August. It should be noted that he hit the ball as hard as one can expect in the situation on the very next pitch, but Alex Gordon chased it down.