Yesterday, Detroit Tiger’s pitcher Justin Verlander threw a no-hitter. He had a perfect game going into the eight inning and only gave up the ghost after a 12 pitch at bat. For the next batter, he threw a perfectly placed breaking ball that turned into a double play allowing him to face the minimum number of batters.
Last week I shared my opinions on the no-hitter by Francisco Liriano and complained about feeling underwhelmed. Verlander did the exact opposite. He threw the ball harder as the game went on, averaging a solid 3 mph faster over the last three innings than the first. He only had 4 strikeouts, but threw a thrifty 108 pitches with 68.5% of them connecting for strikes. This was a dominating performance.
Verlander now has two no-hitters, only the 30th pitcher with multiple no-hitters and only one of three active pitchers to have done so. Every time JV takes the mound, there is a chance that something great is going to happen, he has that kind of stuff. He needs to get a bit more reliable in the beginning of the season, but he is one of the top five in the league. Maybe with this performance he will get the recognition he deserves.
There is something unique about a dominating pitching performance amongst all the professional sports. There really is not a situation where one single athlete has that kind of control of a game. Yesterday Verlander was special, and it won’t surprise me when he does it again.