Monday night, Tigers ace Justin Verlander did something that no other Tigers pitcher had done in over 50 years and that’s strike out 14 total Yankee hitters in a single game. The last pitcher to do this was Jim Bunning in 1958 when he too accomplished the same feet.
Although he did match a career high with the 14 K’s, Monday’s performance by Verlander is something that Tigers fans have all come to expect from a guy who at this point is without a doubt the best pitcher in the game.
Sure the run support was well welcomed, by the way the Tigers went on to win the game 7-2, but Verlander continues to show an amazing ability to throw a ton of pitches (132 total), dial it up whenever and where ever he feels and yet still be as good in the 8th inning as he was in the 1st inning. And to further highlight just how good Verlander was tonight he was only the second pitcher since 2002 with as many as 96 strikes in a game. The other pitcher to do this was Brandon Morrow in a 17 strikeout game in 2002.
Verlander’s final line of the night was 8 hits, 2 runs (none of those earned) in 8 innings with 14 strikeouts and one walk.
Meanwhile the Tigers put together another complete performance, offensively and defensively, after a dramatic win to say the least Sunday against the Cleveland Indians.
Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera continued his MVP pace hitting a towering home run to center field in the fourth inning that traveled an estimated 454 feet. Prior to this in the bottom of the second, fellow battery mate Prince Fielder hit his 19th home run of the season to right center field giving the Tigers an early 1-0 lead.
After the Yankees were able to tie the game at two in the 5th the Tigers offense came storming back scoring five unanswered runs for the victory.
Aside from Cabrera and Fielder, Omar Infante continues to acclimate himself to his new team going 1 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored while Jackson, Dirks, Avila and Peralta all contributed hits and RBIs in the winning effort.
The night though belonged to Verlander who confused and frustrated Yankee hitters all night including Ichiro Suzuki and Mark Teixeira who struck out three times each. In fact Suzuki snapped his 12-game hitting streak with the Yankees. He also struck out for the first time with his new team and matching a career high for stikeouts in a game.
“In the eighth inning, he still had a 100 mph fastball,” Suzuki said through an interpreter. “The rest of his pitches are great, too.”
In a true test against once of the best teams in baseball, Verlander passed with flying colors and further proved that there is no one better playing today.
Ref: CBS Sports, Twitter, Tigers.com, Associated Press