Saturday, May 8, 2010

Start or Sit: Justin Verlander vs Indians

If you have owned Justin Verlander at any point since his breakout season with the Detroit Tigers in 2006, you know both the pain and the pleasure, the seemingly bottomless depths of utter ineffectiveness and the soaring heights (and the tease) of near perfection.

It's very tempting to just plug and play Verlander given his track record, but that would be lazy, not to mention uninteresting, so let's take a look at the numbers and trends.

Justin Verlander vs Cleveland Indians Batters
A cursory glance at the pitcher vs batters numbers indicates a green light for starting Verlander against the Indians. The collective batting average against Verlander is .226, the on-base percentage .314, and the Indians are averaging a homer per every 40 at-bats, a span of a 13 1/3 innings.

Grady Sizemore, Jhonny Peralta, and Travis Hafner have, naturally, done most of the damage, combining to go 34 for 133 with 5 home runs and 16 bases on balls while striking out 36 times, to a tune of .255 batting average. The three bat 2 through 5 in the Indians lineup with Shin-Soo Choo squeezing in between Sizemore and Peralta, and the key to Verlander's success will depend on avoiding the big meltdown innings, especially against the bigger bats.

Justin Verlander vs Cleveland Indians
Verlander's historically had trouble with the division rival Indians, as he has gone 8-10 in 20 career starts, logging 121 IP, 114 H, 73 ER, 15 HR, 48 BB, 131 K, 5.43 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, and .246 BAA. But in 4 starts last year, Verlander won all games, completely dominating the Indians for 30 IP, 16 H, 3 ER, 0 HR, 10 BB, 41 K, 0.90 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, and .157 BAA. Verlander's 2009 numbers against the Indians was an absolute turn around from his marks in 2008 and 2007, when he went a combined 2-8 in 11 starts giving up 50 earned runs in 62 innings for a 7.25 ERA.

The below is a scoring log of Verlander's 11 starts from 2007 and 2008 seasons against the Indians.

5/26/07 Home ND
- V. Martinez homered to deep right, G. Sizemore scored

5/31/07 Away L
- T. Hafner homered to deep center, C. Blake scored
- T. Hafner singled to center, C. Blake and G. Sizemore scored
- V. Martinez homered to deep right center, T. Hafner scored
After being pulled
- V. Martinez hit sacrifice fly to center, G. Sizemore scored

7/5/07 Home W
- V. Martinez homered to deep right
- R. Garko scored on wild pitch
- V. Martinez doubled to deep right, C. Blake scored

8/22/07 Home L
- V. Martinez singled to right, K. Lofton scored, C. Blake to second
- A. Cabrera singled to center, F. Gutierrez scored
- C. Blake singled to left, A. Cabrera scored, K. Lofton to second
- G. Sizemore singled to right, K. Lofton scored, C. Blake to third
- C. Blake scored, G. Sizemore to second on wild pitch
After being pulled
- F. Gutierrez homered to deep left, T. Hafner and J. Peralta scored

9/18/07 Away L
- R. Garko homered to deep center
- T. Hafner homered to deep center, G. Sizemore and A. Cabrera scored
- V. Martinez homered to deep center
- F. Gutierrez homered to deep left, K. Lofton scored

4/17/08 Away L
- J. Michaels hit sacrifice fly to right center, R. Garko scored, F. Gutierrez to third
- C. Blake doubled to right, F. Gutierrez scored
- J. Carroll singled to second, C. Blake scored
- R. Garko homered to deep left, V. Martinez scored

6/6/08 Home L
- C. Blake doubled to left, J. Peralta and R. Garko scored, D. Dellucci to third
- F. Gutierrez singled to left, D. Dellucci scored, C. Blake to third

7/8/08 Home W
- J. Peralta homered to deep left, C. Blake scored

7/31/08 Away L
- J. Peralta doubled to deep left, B. Francisco scored
- G. Sizemore homered to deep right, S. Fasano and A. Cabrera scored
- S. Fasano singled to left, S. Choo scored, R. Garko to second
After being pulled
- G. Sizemore hit by pitch, R. Garko scored, S. Fasano to third, A. Cabrera to second

8/27/09 Home L
- J. Peralta singled to left, D. Dellucci scored
- G. Sizemore singled to center, K. Shoppach and R. Garko scored
- K. Shoppach homered to deep left, R. Garko scored

9/20/08 Away L
- J. Peralta grounded out to shortstop, J. Carroll scored, S. Choo to third
- K. Shoppach scored, F. Gutierrez to second on balk
- S. Choo singled to right, R. Garko and G. Sizemore scored, J. Carroll to third
The names that did the most damage against Verlander in 2007 and 2008 (Shoppach, Gutierrez, Garko, Carroll, Fasano, Blake, Michaels, and Martinez) were no longer donning the inappropriate caricature on their hats by the 2009 season, which explains the turn-around.

Trends and Injuries
The start of Verlander's 2010 season has played out like a slightly lighter, a bit less extreme version of his 2009 season, when he gave up at least 5 earned runs in 3 of his first 4 starts, a total of 21 runs in 21 innings for a 0-2 record. In his first 4 starts this year, he's given up 17 earned runs in 22 innings, and hasn't give up more than 6 in a game while managing to go 1-0.

Last year, after the horrible first 4 games, Verlander straightened out his mechanics and control and wheeled off 9-straight quality starts, until he gave up 4 earned runs in the first inning in St. Louis on June 16th.

The Tigers are on a 4-game losing streak and the Indian shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is returning to the lineup.

Opposing Pitcher
Justin Masterson gets the nod for the Indians for the 1:05 PM showdown and in his lone career start against the Tigers in 2009, he gave up 6 earned runs in just 4 innings while serving up 2 home runs, allowing 7 hits, and issuing 3 bases on balls.

The Call: Start

No comments:

Post a Comment