Justin Verlander plays for the Mets and won two World Series titles with the Houston Astros, but he will always be a part of Detroit. It was there that he began his career, winning his first of three Cy Young Awards and his Most Valuable Player Award, and shooting two of his three players.
So when three Tigers pitchers combined to throw the ninth in club history on Saturday — and the tenth no-hitter in major league history — Verlander, who was in San Diego for a series against the Padres, took notice. As did the rest of his family: Their group chat soon exploded with talk of the first hitter thrown at Detroit’s Comerica Park since Verlander bound Milwaukee in 2007 and the old happenings played out during the broadcast.
“My wife told me how young she was when it happened, and then someone else told me how young I was,” said Verlander, grinning and muttering a long-emphasized expletive.
Verlander doesn’t know Matt Manning, the Tigers’ right-hander who clipped through the Blue Jays in the first six and two-thirds innings over Detroit. 2-0 win On Saturday, he’s also unfamiliar with the relievers who’ve taken over from there: Jason Foley (one inning and third inning) and Alex Lang (one inning). But more than any other active player, he knows that stadium, that city, and that team’s history.
“Forever when certain things happen, I think my name will always kind of come up,” Verlander said. “As long as you’ve played there and some of the great things you’ve been able to accomplish there, when you’re associated with an organization like this, of course there’s a part of you that wishes them well, no doubt.”
However, the Blue Jays may not wish Verlander or the Tigers well. Toronto was the opponent when Verlander threw the second of his career, on May 7, 2011, and it was the Blue Jays, once again, who did not hit as a member of the Houston Astros on September 1, 2019.
While Verlander is one of only six pitchers to ever throw three or more pitchers—Nolan Ryan (seven), Sandy Koufax (four), Larry Corcoran, Bob Feller, and Cy Young (three each)—he also has become a well-known no-hitter combined. He’s been in the dugout for two of them last year: Houston’s June Yankees obliteration (Christian Javier, Hector Neres, Ryan Pressley) and the memorable Astros against Philadelphia in Game 4 of the World Series (Javier, Brian Abreu, Rafael Montero and Pressley).
In a festive way, no-hitters combined create a better celebration because it’s more team-oriented when multiple pitchers are involved, Verlander said. Verlander said the World Series no-hitter was “amazing, unbelievable.”
But at the same time, he notes, “Nothing is taken away from the joint no-hitter, but you can even see in the media, the way it’s covered,” that the achievement is different. The way the game changes, he noted, will become the rule rather than the exception. actually, 12 out of 20 They have occurred since 2000, and nine of them have come since 2018.
While analytics has played an important role in the change, as some teams adhere to the principle of not allowing a starting pitcher to face an opposing batter’s order for the third time in a game, it also calls into question whether baseball is doing some harm by not properly developing starting pitchers.
“I hope Major League Baseball doesn’t wait too long to address that because you get what you asked for, right?” Verlander said. “Teams are looking for players who throw at 100 miles an hour and have a really good one-pitch off-speed. So instead of developing a good throwing technique, you as a younger player are obsessed with throwing the ball hard and spinning it.
“So you go broke instead of waiting for it to develop naturally. So you get what you ask for.”
Verlander, 40, said he and teammate Max Scherzer, 38, who has given up two part-time players, sometimes discuss the topic. Between them, Verlander and Scherzer played 939 games, threw 38 complete games, worked 5,997⅔ innings and scored 456 wins.
In a separate conversation on Friday, Scherzer said, “I can’t stand what I see from young pitchers. I don’t feel like anyone is developing arms anymore. All arms break.”
In Manning’s case, the timing of his masterpiece was a factor as well as modern strategy. In the first round of the 2016 draft, Manning, 25, was making just his fifth start of the season after breaking a bone in his right foot in April. He has been limited to carrying the sore shoulder to 12 times in 2022.
“He was toiling a lot,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch told reporters after Saturday’s game. “I almost took him out after the fifth and after the sixth. I fielded him for the seventh, but as soon as a runner gets in, we have to worry about winning the match.”
Overall, the three Tigers pitchers combined for 116 pitches and nine strikeouts. Manning walked three batters and struck out one, while Foley and Lang were perfect in their shorter runs.
It was an achievement for all three pitchers without a doubt, but it came without the same level of excellence that a pitcher achieves after he finishes what he starts. Verlander believes that MLB needs to find a way to encourage teams to return to developing top-tier starting players who can get into games. This can help make lasting memories for the fans who come out to watch, rather than just having them see a series of powerful flings.
“I hope years from now we don’t look up and see a whole bunch of guys who just don’t know their names,” Verlander said.