Justin Verlander would probably not have gotten the “Loss” last night if Miguel Cabrera didn’t go 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts. Detroit Tigers pitchers have no responsibility for their team’s lineup. Verlander doesn’t influence Cabrera’s batting performance against Red Sox pitchers.
Verlander pitched great against Red Sox batters and John Lackey pitched great against Tigers batters. The two pitchers did not face each other.
Justin Verlander proved last night that he has still got it. The media may have you think that he had lost it this year. That he was finished as an ace. After tossing eight shutout innings against the Oakland Athletics in the deciding game of the ALDS they will now tell you that he is back. The problem with this narrative is that he never went anywhere.
Verlander finished with the fourth most strikeouts in the American League, one ahead of Felix Hernandez.
No one is writing that any of those four elite pitchers have taken a step back or are finished as an ace. Verlander showed us last night that we shouldn’t even think of writing him off yet.
When it comes to starting pitching there is no team in the 2013 playoffs with a better staff than the Detroit Tigers. In fact Jim Leyland is sending to the hill the best starting rotation since the great Leo Mazzone/Bobby Cox teams of the 1990’s in Atlanta.
The last team with four starters with 4+ WAR is the 1997 Atlanta Braves. That was the Tom Glavine/Greg Maddux/John Smoltz and Denny Neagle version of the Braves. Each of those four guys logged 230 innings for Bobby Cox that season.
Back to the Tigers, Rick Porcello is their fifth starter and he has posted 3 WAR over 29 starts. This is equal to the value provided this season by C.J. Wilson, Ervin Santana and Andy Pettitte. That is some awesome fifth starter (or long reliever in the playoffs).
To summarize the Detroit Tigers have arguably three number one starters plus a two and a three. That is a stacked rotation.