Over the weekend, Justin Verlander became the first pitcher in 2011 to reach the 20 win milestone, the first in August since Curt Schilling in 2002 and the first Tigers pitcher in 40 years to hit that mark before September 1st. Here’s the report on Verlander’s 20th win from the Detroit Tigers website. While it wasn’t the dominating performance we’ve come to expect from the Tiger ace (or the dominating performance of the Lions vs the Patriots), it was good enough for the win. Samara at Roar of the Tigers inked this cartoon and writes:
You have one takeaway from this weekend.
Even when he is not at his best, Justin Verlander is still better than you, me, and the vast majority of Major League Baseball.
Indeed. There’s a nice article on ESPN looking at Verlander’s MVP case and the Bleacher Report takes a look at Verlander and his chances to hit 25 wins and take home the MVP hardware:
Justin Verlander won his 20th game this past weekend. The 28-year-old right-hander now sports a 20-5 record and it’s only Aug. 29. The conventional wisdom is that Verlander is going to win the Cy Young award, and there are also a fair amount of people who think that he should be the MVP. Those that feel that way almost always say the same thing: “He should be the MVP, but he won’t win.”
The naysayers may very well end up being right. After all, no American League Pitcher has won the MVP award since 1992 when Dennis Eckersley won it and no starter has won since 1986 when Roger Clemens took home the hardware.
It’s been 19 years since a pitcher won the MVP and it’s been 21 years since a pitcher hit the 25-win mark. In 1990 Bob Welch went 27-6 and won the AL Cy Young award. Verlander would need to have a great September to get to 25 wins, but at this point Verlander has provided very little reason to think he can’t have a great month.
Whatever happens, it’s clear that Verlander is a special player who is helping power the Here’s a great interview from 2009 by Chris Rose of Fox Sports where you can learn all kinds of quirky facts about Verlander including how he checks the radar gun and why his number is 35!