Thursday, April 22, 2010

Verlander Still Grounded

This morning I saw someone tweeting about whether to drop Justin Verlander for Livan Hernandez, Doug Fister, or Joel Pineiro.

Ummm, let's not get all *that* excited. I told him to look at the track records and pedigrees.

Given that I've endured the downs and ups of Verlander since the 2007 season, I know full well the deep torment and frustration he brings to the fantasy baseball realm.

After a disgusting home start sandwiched by two underwhelming away games, I felt that it was an unquestionable decision to bench Verlander for his fourth start of the season, an away night game at Angels Stadium.

A quick look at ESPN's pitcher vs batter revealed that six of the nine Angels regulars had better than healthy OBP against the Detroit ace and I wasn't about to bank on a surprise breakthrough performance.

After 125 pitches in just five innings, Verlander left the game with a chance to still win the game. Of course he notches the first win of the season on my bench. No regrets, though, since I'll pass on the W since I can really do without the 4 ER and 2.00 WHIP.

The 10-pitch battle that resulted in a Hideki Matsui solo bomb in the fifth was the microcosm of the same issues Verlander has had in the months of April in the past two seasons. Even when his pitches aren't snappy enough to straight embarrass the hitters like he wants, he stubbornly tries for the whiff and ends up getting hammered.

Verlander's stubbornness in wanting to strike out every batter despite not having his best stuff has resulted in the explosions of ERA and WHIP of countless number of fantasy baseball addicts. Until Verlander regains his stuff, he'll be benched and we'll just have to be patient and hope for a repeat of last year's 18 wins in the months of May through September.

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