As if 10 wins in a row isn’t exciting enough... As if having Don Kelly star again in “Mastering Masterson” — this time with a three-run home run — isn’t exciting enough... As if taking a five-game lead on the Indians in the American League Central isn’t exciting enough... Justin Verlander — the real total Cy Young-worthy Justin Verlander — made his 2013 debut Tuesday night. Four months and five days after he pitched the opener Verlander roared forth in full and overwhelmed the Indians 5-1 at Progressive Field. “Everything I was searching for I found it today” he said. “I can’t work any harder than I have.” Verlander worked fast threw 75 of his 112 pitches for strikes and stalked the mound. He hummed. He persuaded Jim Leyland to let him go back out for the eighth and he made that a six-pitch wipeout inning. His final totals were eight innings four hits one run no walks seven strikeouts. Verlander said it was as good as he has felt all season. He said that in preparing for this start he realized he wasn’t landing in the right spot in his windup with his front leg. This affected his control. “I’m excited obviously to see the adjustment I made make a pretty big impact” he said. This was the Verlander who soared throughout the past two years and who has appeared only in excerpts this season. Of course it said something about his ability that even without the engine in perfect tune he was 11-8 with a 3.88 ERA entering Tuesday night. Verlander has had several other low-run games this season. But this time he had the velocity all the way cranked up to 99-100 had the curveball crackling and left no doubt who was in charge. Pitching coach Jeff Jones said: “It was vintage. It’s been a battle for him this year. He has worked extremely hard to get things figured out. I think tonight was a by-product of all the steady work. We’ve spent a lot of time looking at stuff and trying to figure stuff out. I told him when he got done ‘That was really fun to watch.’ ” By yielding one run Verlander merely kept pace with his rotation colleagues. In the 10-game winning streak Tigers starters have allowed a total of 10 runs. Kelly an excellent outfielder played leftfield over Andy Dirks.
Verlander returns to vintage form for 10th straight win, 5-1 over Indians
Detroit Free Press | Aug 7