The DEFEND Cleveland Show

August 12th, 2011 DC Show Report

Justin Verlander. So the guy is pretty good, huh? My neck hurts from turning empty handed on that fastball, my knees ache from bending out of the path of his curve to see it only then bend in for a strike, and my pride stings from charging in front of that “it’s not even fair” change of his. Hell, I’m sore and I just watched the game.

Buster Olney (in his ESPN insider blog) amongst a great write up on Kipnis, shared this from ESPN Stats & Information about Justin’s performance last night over the Tribe:

A. Verlander used all his pitches to effectively put Indians hitters away. He threw each of his four pitch types (fastball, curveball, slider, changeup) at least five times with two strikes. It’s the seventh time he’s done that this season and just the 15th time in the last three seasons. He had at least two strikeouts on each of his four pitches for just the third time in the last three seasons, all of which have come in his last 10 starts.

B. Verlander’s changeup was his most effective put-away pitch Thursday. He threw just seven changeups with two strikes, but retired four hitters without allowing a hit on those seven pitches, including three by strikeout.

C. Indians hitters missed on eight of their 11 swings against Verlander’s change, the second-most misses by a Verlander opponent against his change in the last three seasons. The only team to miss more against his change was the Indians on June 14, who missed on 15 of their 20 swings. That gives them an astounding total of 23 misses on 31 swings (74.2 pct) against Verlander’s change this season in two starts.

*If you do not already subscribe to the ESPN insider, I recommend it for ‘ESPN the Magazine’ alone, but it’s also good for things like this as well as a lot of other insider info and information for serious fans who also need to know too much about almost everything

All that translates to just incredibly impressive.

As much as Buster (who’s really good in his own right) justly rattles on about how dominating Verlander’s change has been against the Tribe this year, the point that jumps off the page most is his first that Justin threw each of his 4 pitches at least 5 times with 2 strikes. That’s bewildering good. That means as a hitter up against it in the count where you would normally look for one, or at best two different pitches of “their best stuff” from whoever you’re facing on any given at bat, with Justin you have to expect and be prepared for his whole arsenal. Outside of Greg “The Professor” Maddux in his prime (who, oh, by the way, won 355 games) , I can’t think of another pitcher I’ve ever seen that could go effectively that many ways at you to get you out. And Maddux never had anywhere near the kind of fastball that Verlander does.

Justin got his 100th career win last night (in only 6 seasons and at the age of 28), and also got his 17th win on the season (which leads the majors and makes it 5 of those 6 years where he’s now accumulated at least 17 wins or more). He did this last night in giving up only 3 hits and striking out 10 (the 4th time this year he’s hit double digits in strikeouts). And yet, somehow, the Tribe managed to stay in the game by scoring 3 runs. To be honest, the Indians were lucky not to be no-hit last night.

Best part, as Olney’s write up eludes to, Justin pitched even better June 14th when he faced the Tribe. If you recall in that game he took a no-hitter into the 8th on his way to a 2 hit complete game shutout. He’s been just as good pretty much every outing ever since.

I point all this out not to make you feel better about a Tribe loss (though all this should help with that), but rather to point out something very significant: greatness. After seeing excellence the night before out of one of our own aces in Ubaldo (yes the Indians have more than one ace again, HOORAY!), as well as what was another night of record setting precedence from Jason “Dirtbag” Kipnis, simply by being a fan of this sport -even if you go so far as to paint your face in support of the home team- you should always recognize, appreciate and applaud, when excellence goes so far as to become brilliance. No matter what uniform it wears.

Justin Verlander is not only obviously coming into his own as one of the best pitchers in baseball right now, if not claiming that throne outright (where my money is), he’s a once in a generation kind of talent who’s still proving that he’s only getting better. Whenever he takes the mound it’s something special, and you should go out of your way to take note of it. After all, he already has 2 no hitters, has heavily flirted with more than a few more, and my bet is he at least gets 2 more in his lifetime. At least 2 more. What can I say, apparently I like betting on the guy. You willing to bet against him?

That said, it was pretty special that the Indians held their own against him. It was also great to see Asdrubal Cabrera go captain my captain on Carlos Santana for short arming on a throw (2 nights in a row of this) from Chisenhall in the 1st inning which ultimately gave up the run that proved to be the difference in the game. Asdrubal wants to win, it shows, and he’s becoming a leader that looks akin to what Jeter has brought to the table for the pinstripes for so long. It’s also exactly what has been asked of him from Acta, and exactly what this (very) young team needs. Besides, who’s going to talk back to a guy that plays the way Asdrubal plays? You just get in line and when he says jump, you say how high.

Cleveland gets Minnesota tonight at home to start a 3 game weekend series. The Twins have lost 10 of their last 11. The Indians also get back CHOOOOOO! from his 6 weeks of injured absence and should see David Huff pitching up here again on Sunday. Yep, here’s to a good weekend, folks, and know that I’ll be talking all about it on Monday morning with you.


-Mike James

PS – Are you ready for some football?! Yes, last night the preseason affair that leads into the romance of regular season started its courtship with a slate of 6 games. There’s more tonight, and the Browns are getting prepped for their first go of it against the Super Bowl champion Packers on Saturday night at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Coach Pat Shurmer said the first team will go about a quarter (so get there early), the second team will get the 2nd and 3rd quarter, and the third team and whatever is left after that will finish the game. Other than this, not much news other than they took it easy in practice yesterday to rest up for the game. We’ll be sure to talk all about this on Monday too, so be sure to tune in to WRUW 91.1 FM and the Defend Cleveland Show, and start your week off right with the best sports talk left on the FM dial.

Short URL:

Posted by on Aug 12 2011. Filed under Show Reports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Log in | Designed by Gabfire themes