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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Did we make too much of Verlander's three-game mini-slump? Leyland thinks yes ... but also no

Here's the full postgame quote from Tigers manager Jim Leyland, addressing whether or not too much was made of the past three outings by staff ace Justin Verlander, where he posted an 11.37 ERA — a trio of abbreviated outings that totaled just 12.2 innings, allowing his ERA to balloon from 1.55 to 3.66:

"Well, no I don’t think anybody made too much of it. Why I say that, I personally think people made too much of it, but I don’t think people made too much of it.

"I’ll explain myself: When you’re one of the faces of baseball, like Justin Verlander, a Cy Young winner, and an MVP winner, and a big name like he is, you’re going to think that people are going to talk about you more than somebody else. That’s just the way it is. That kind of goes along with the territory.

"I didn’t make too much out of it, but I can understand, is what I guess I’m saying. I can understand why the public did, because he’s one of the faces of Major League Baseball today.

"This is a very fickle business. That’s just the way it is. These sports are very fickle business. Hero today, bum tomorrow. That’s just the way it works. That’s how this (crap) goes on. 

"It didn’t surprise me that people were concerned, they had his pitches (tipping), velocity down — his velocity’s not down; he’s got the velocity (when) he wants to. He’s made some bad pitches and he was in a two- or three-game rut where he wasn’t close to being perfect.

"Plus, the other thing is, people make adjustments. You could see what they were trying to do today. They were trying to be real aggressive early on him. That’s kind of what people have been trying to do, because we’ve been talking about trying to get ahead, getting Strike One — well, people are being real aggressive with that.

"He threw some change-ups in the first inning. We think that he’s just gotta mix his pattern up a little bit. Because there’s all kind of scouting tools today. They have an advance scout in the stands, they’ve got video to watch, so there’s a lot of information that goes out there. So you gotta make an adjustment. You can’t just go out there pumping fastballs in the first inning. It won’t work. They’re trying to get their swings off on him early, before he gets to the curve, and the change-up and the slider. I mean, it looks like that to me, anyway. Doesn’t mean he can’t throw fastballs down and away. You can.

"This guy’s a terrific pitcher, and like I said, I thought he had a good curveball today, and was in a pretty good rhythm today.I thought he threw one bad pitch to (Gabby) Sanchez. That’s the only pitch that I thought was kind of a bad pitch. Eighty-nine mph fastball. I’m pretty sure it was a fastball.

"But that’s one pitch. That’s pretty good if you’re talking about one pitch. ... He’s fine."


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