Tag Archives: Justin Verlander

World Series Game 1: Giants 8, Tigers 3

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World Series Game 1: Giants 8, Tigers 3

The World Series started yesterday down the street from me and my favorite pitcher (Justin Verlander) was pitching.  I knew tickets were going for insane prices, but I also knew that there was a dip in prices shortly before the game started.  And so, I bought a ticket for a 5:07 pmstart at 4:35 pm, printed out the ticket and ran to the stadium — literally.  Actually, I didn’t run straight there.  I stopped off at home and grabbed my camera first… and then continued running, Forrest Gump style.  I made it into the stadium just as the Star Spangled Banner was being played and made it to my (upper upper deck) seat just in time for the first pitch.

Now, I primarily decided to go to this game to see Verlander.  I even had my Tigers shirt on.  Unfortunately, dominant JV did not show up.  He gave up a solo homerun to the third batter, Pablo Sandoval… which would be the first of three homeruns for the Kung Fu Panda, putting him in a class with Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols.  Verlander settled down after that initial run and it looked like he might be his usual self, but then Angel Pagan’s double in the third with two outs happened and everything unraveled for the Tigers.

Now, to call Pagan’s hit a double was generous.  It looked initially like a routine grounder to third that might go foul.  But Miguel Cabrera was playing deep and just before it looked like he was going to field the ball, the ball bounced of the base, took a crazy hop, and wound up past Cabrera in left field.  By the time Delmon Young recovered it, Pagan was on second.  Marco Scutaro followed with a single that scored Angel and then the Tigers pitching coach went out for the most ineffective mound meeting ever.  The next batter? Pablo Sandoval, who hit his second homerun of the game.  It was really hard to keep rooting for the Tigers at this point, because the Giants fans were so excited.  (But I should note that at no point were the San Francisco fans even remotely as excited as the Oakland fans in the ALDS a few weeks ago.)

Once Verlander was pulled after the 4th, I zipped up my jacket and covered up my Detroit allegiances.  When the Panda hit his third homerun of the game, I was cheering right alongside the rest of the Giants fans.  After all, I was seeing history.

Game 2 is happening right now.  I thought briefly (not really) about going again, but StubHub tickets were more than double what they were yesterday, with no pre-game dip.  And so, I’m listening to Game 2 on the radio in the office instead of being at the stadium.  But I was there last night, so I can check “Attend World Series game” off the bucket list.

Pictures after the jump…

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Tigers 3, Athletics 1

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Tigers 3, Athletics 1

It’s Justin Verlander Day!

I don’t think I’ve hidden the fact that Justin Verlander is my favorite player outside of the Twins.  He’s just so consistently dominating — he’ll hit 100 MPH in the 8th or 9th inning like it’s no big deal.  So when I noted that he was going to be pitching against the A’s, I e-mailed my friend Suzanne and invited her to join me at the game.  (And even if she had said no, I’d have gone anyway.)

Verlander didn’t disappoint even my exceedingly high expectations.  The A’s didn’t get a hit until the 4th inning.  They got a second hit in the 5th, which happened to be a solo homerun by Seth Smith, but other than that, Verlander was lights out for 7 innings.  (And that homerun didn’t hurt as the Tigers had already scored 2 runs, but I didn’t go to watch the Tigers offense.  Especially since my former second favorite Tiger, Brandon Inge, is now an A.)

When he didn’t come out for the 8th, I was a little confused, because normally he doesn’t let things like pitch counts get in his way — it turns out he had a callous on his hand that had cracked open and started bleeding during the 7th and the trainer decided he should be done.  I will note that the 7th inning was the only inning he didn’t get a strikeout… probably the bleeding thumb.

This season I’ve been trying to pick 10 or so diverse pictures to illustrate whichever game I was at.  In honor of Justin Verlander, this time I picked 13 pictures of JV’s delivery, taken with burst mode, so you can watch him pitch in slow motion over and over again.

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Divisional Series Decompression

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As is probably unsurprising, what with my gushing over Justin Verlander, the Tigers are my team this post-season.  What is probably also not surprising, the New York Yankees are the one team of the eight postseason teams that I can’t stand and want to see lose and lose quickly.  Then there are the six other teams which I am mostly indifferent to.  If I had to rank them it would probably go Brewers, Diamondbacks, Rays (well, they’re already out), Rangers, Cardinals, Phillies.  But really, as long as there is good baseball played, I’m not invested in who advances out of those six teams.

And so that leaves me with one divisional series I watched every pitch of: The Evil Empire vs. the Guys From Near My Old Stomping Grounds Who Have The Best Pitcher In The Game In Their Pen And Delmon Young.  (Hmm… that is a long moniker for the Tigers.  I should shorten it to GFNMOSGWHTBPITGITPADY, although even that is longer than “The Evil Empire.”)

Game 1 got postponed after an inning and a half, ruining the Verlander vs. CC Sabathia start and turning it into an Ivan Nova vs. Doug Fister disaster on Saturday.  Game 2 featured some brilliant pitching by Max Scherzer.  Game 3 featured some not-always-brilliant-pitching-but-who-cares-because-he-won from Justin Verlander.  Game 4 was really ugly and I’ve wiped it from my memory.  Game 5 was a stressful game because even though the Tigers were never behind (and after the second batter of the game were always ahead), it was never a big lead and with the Yankees, I can really only relax when it’s a big lead.

After A-Rod struck out to end the game, I was finally able to exhale.  The combination of wanting the Tigers to win and wanting the Yankees to lose was enough to make me tense whenever I watched it — and exhilarated when the Tigers finally clinched it.  That exhilaration is why I watch baseball.  It’s certainly not for the anxiety that comes before it… but the anxiety is a necessary precursor to the joy.

For better or for worse, now that this ALDS is over, I don’t think I’ll be getting as emotionally invested in the ALCS or the World Series.  The Tigers aren’t really my team and they’ve already vanquished the team it’s fun to watch lose.  (Seriously… click the link to watch A-Rod strikeout.  It’s just so satisfying if you know anything about him — plus Avila’s glee is infectious.  If you’re unaware of why Rodriguez is a guy it’s fun to root against, let this Google image search be your primer.)  For the remainder of October, I’m going to be a lot more relaxed when I watch baseball.

But it also means I won’t be as elated when the Tigers take it all as I was tonight.

Tigers 3, Athletics 0

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Oh, Justin Verlander, I don’t care if my sister mocks me for cheering for the Tigers, you are a stud.  Headed out to Oakland again this morning to see the A’s host the Tigers once again, but this time with Justin Verlander, a lock for the AL Cy Young and in the running for MVP, taking the mound for Detroit with 23 wins already under his belt.  Unfortunately, as mentioned previously, the good camera was left behind in Minnesota.  So instead of Verlander at 22x zoom from my seat, I give you Verlander at 3x zoom.  As you might expect, it’s not as clear… I kind of miss my good camera.

Justin Verlander pitching

Justin Verlander pitches another strike. (Maybe... I have no idea which of the 116 pitches this was.)

On the mound for Oakland was Guillermo Moscoso, who I last saw beating the Twins on July 30.  Surprisingly enough, it was actually Moscoso who had the no-hitter going through five innings and had the most strikeouts — 8 Ks for Guillermo to Justin’s 6.  But let’s be serious… I didn’t go to see Moscoso get a no-no (though it would have been cool).  I went to see Verlander get his 24th win.  And once Austin Jackson broke up the no-hit bid in the top of the 6th with a solo homerun, that was all Justin needed.  Miguel Cabrera almost hit another homerun against Moscoso at the end of the 6th, but it went just foul and he flew out to right on the next pitch instead.  The Tigers scored a second run in the 8th and a third in the 9th, but it really didn’t matter.

Thanks to a double play started by Delmon Young, of all people, and a runner caught stealing, Verlander faced the minimum number of batters through three.  (Moscoso, despite the no-no bid, actually ruined the minimum batters thing earlier by giving up a walk in the 2nd.)  He gave up a single to Coco Crisp in the 4th to ruin that streak, but the A’s didn’t build on it.  In fact, the A’s never built on anything — no Oakland runner ever got past first base.  (Insert joke here about the A’s playing like they were at a junior high dance.)  After 116 pitches, Verlander had a three-hit shut out going after 8 innings of work.  Jose Valverde, who’s actually kind of a punk (see, I’m not entirely a Tigers fan), came in with a 1-2-3 9th for the save and just like that, win number 24 was in the book.