It’s must over-analyze JV tonight in Detroit! (“must see” flows much better, eh?)
Cliff Lee, Johan Santana, CC Sabathia, Tim Lincecum, Zack Greinke, Matt Cain, Felix Hernandez, Cole Hamels. All of those pitchers are making more money than Justin Verlander this year. Roy Halladay & Barry Zito are a mere $100K short of Verlander’s 2013 salary. Guess how many of those same pitchers have a better WAR than JV.
That denoted time for pondering and guessing. If your answer was ONE, you’re the next contestant on the Ace is Alright! Look, we can all agree that Justin is not having his most “Verlander” year, but we should also agree that this statement infers a very high set of expectations and a large degree of subjectivity. No one, including Justin, is saying that things are going according to plan. That said, a dose of perspective is always nice. Verlander’s 3.8 WAR (thanks, Fan Graphs) may be 3rd amongst the Tigers starters but that speaks more to the studliness of this staff than to JV being “washed up” or “overly arrogant”, as some emotional comment boarders (which is similar to mental water boarding if y’ask me) would have you think. There is only one player on that list at the top that I’d even consider taking over Verlander. L.A. can keep Greinke. He’s having a fine year, but only King Felix is in the same league as number 35 right now and going forward. (Side notes: Yes, I know WAR doesn’t cover it all. Yes, I know there are other statistical categories in which he looks worse. Yes, I’m just showing one point that I personally believe puts things in perspective. No, I don’t care to look at your spreadsheet.)
[Link to pitcher salaries here: http://data.newsday.com/long-island/data/baseball/mlb-salaries-2013/?fieldSelect-position=Starting+pitcher]
Verlander squares off tonight against lefty Tommy Milone, who carries a 5.00 ERA on the road over 72 IP in 2013. Milone was recently recalled from AAA when the A’s ageless wonder Bartolo Colon went on the DL, but he’s struggled a bit in August and looks to be in jeopardy of a demotion to the bullpen if things don’t turn around. His last outing against Detroit had a memorable ending for Tigers fans – a walkoff sacrifice fly by one Donald Thomas Kelly. Here’s the link, still makes me smile: http://atmlb.com/TcbUjs
The Tigers enter the game 5.5 up on Cleveland for the Central lead. The Indians play the first of a three-game set against the Atlanta Braves tonight. The Braves have the best record in baseball at 78-52.
Alex Avila is back tonight and, unfortunately, Coco Crisp did not decide to take a game off. And LINEUPS: