Justin Verlander’s beautiful 1000th strikeout

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Initially this entire post was going to be about how awful the weather at Comerica looked, and how impressed I was with the people who actually bothered to show up and then sit through all or most of the game. I mean, it was like 40 degrees, and mist-raining, and foggy, and generally awful. It looked like the kind of weather that gets inside your bones so that you’re cold all the way through and it feels like you can never ever get warm again, giving you a horrible unwanted insight into what it’s like to be Joel Zumaya’s right arm.

Then I saw Juan Pierre batting and this post was going to be about the fact that he wears stirrup socks with little Wrong Sox logos over the stirrups, and he also wears his hat under his batting helmet. How is it possible that Juan Pierre is only 33? He seems like he’s just barely younger than Omar Vizquel, who is of course as old as the game of baseball itself.

BUT THEN! Then Justin Verlander threw a nasty changeup to strike out AJ Pierzynski and end the 7th inning. Verlander was still throwing heat at this late point in the game– two at-bats previous, he had thrown nothing but fastballs, 7 of them at 98mph or faster– but he took a craftier approach to Pierzynski the Loathsome.

He set up the at-bat with 97mph heat, then dug in with a changeup, two curveballs (one fouled off), and then that final tailing change. Pierzynski was badly fooled and took a stupid-looking swipe at the ball as it went by, but he tipped it straight into Alex Avila’s glove. Fieldin Culbreth signaled it all nice and clear once he saw that Avila still had the ball. Boom, strike three, inning over.

Pierzynski yelled something after the tip (at himself, I guess). Verlander stared at him with his Srs Pitching Bzns face on part of the way back to the dugout, because AJ Pierzynski is a terrible person and Justin Verlander is freakin’ awesome and also will not be trifled with.

It is worth going over this strikeout– Verlander’s 8th of the game– in loving detail, because it turned out to be

Justin Verlander’s 1,000th career strikeout!

Justin, of course, is unfazed by his own greatness.

Since Verlander was watching Pierzynski, he couldn’t see the message on the scoreboard behind him about his 1,000th career strikeout. He didn’t know about it until he stepped into the dugout and got the ball from head athletic trainer Kevin Rand.

“I said, ‘OK, great. What’s it for,” Verlander said. “A thousand strikeouts? All right. Cool. I’m not really one to follow statistics like that, so I’m glad somebody was paying attention.”
Jason Beck/DetroitTigers.com

Whatever, man. We’ll be pleased and impressed on your behalf.

Sidenote: this has nothing to do with anything, really, but it was noted during the broadcast today that Pierzynski the Loathsome had gone above and beyond the usual catcher-painting-fingernails-for-visibility thing. They showed it, and sure enough, he had painted (or otherwise marked in white) his fingers halfway up to his knuckles. Like so:

I just thought, huh, I can’t remember seeing that before. Or maybe I have seen it before and just wasn’t paying attention? Either way, it was kind of cool, or would have been if it had involved anyone other than AJP.


15 responses to “Justin Verlander’s beautiful 1000th strikeout

  1. ivantopumpyouup

    // How is it possible that Juan Pierre is only 33?//

    IKR?! I’m convinced he’s really 80 years old, but maintains a youthful(ish) appearance by bathing in the blood of innocents.

    Also, I was hoping Quentin would get plunked after he flipped his bat. Maybe the next time Justin faces the Wrong Sox. :P

  2. What’s more amazing than this? Knowing full-well Sam drew this so that we could all hold it up to a mirror and see that JV’s 1000K was actually thrown LEFT-HANDED! And that AA got in on the lefty action (let’s see you do THAT JCP). Not to mention the lost-to-history, right-to-left reading language printed on the uniforms where decipherable player names normally appear.
    This is what real investigative bloggermismo is all about!

  3. Verlander waas simply overpowering-even if he did feed his gopher 3 times. And how about B Dab in concert?

  4. You’re so right about what it was like last night. The poor vendors tried for half the game to sell us ice cold beer and almost got pelted. Then they wised up and started bringing around hot chocolate, thus becoming our friends. It was cold, it was wet, it was physically miserable, but what a game by the Tigers!

  5. Aren’t white-painted fingers a form of the Death Eaters mark?

    12 A.J. Pierzynski C L

    • OK… I get it now… we do have reply buttons here though!

      Maybe his swing was so bad that he spun himself across the batter’s box? Makes sense to me.

  7. “Pierzynski the Loathsome”! Love it!!!

  8. I was supposed to be at the Game but when I saw the weather I gave the tickets to my Sister In Law!! She stayed the whole time! Not for this old Tiger no thank you! Maybe 20 years ago, not now, my old bones couldnt take it!

  9. Let’s see, on this day alone together we’ve tallied these contributions to civil discourse:

    “…a horrible unwanted insight into what it’s like to be Joel Zumaya’s right arm.”

    “…Omar Vizquel, who is of course as old as the game of baseball itself.”

    “Pierzynski the Loathsome.”

    “…because AJ Pierzynski is a terrible person…”

    “I’m convinced he’s [Juan Pierre] really 80 years old, but maintains a youthful(ish) appearance by bathing in the blood of innocents.”

    “I was hoping Quentin would get plunked…”

    “Aren’t white-painted fingers a form of the Death Eaters mark?”

    “’Pierzynski the Loathsome’! Love it!!!”

    Never was the joke here on Sam, rather a celebration of her hyperbolic enthusiasm mixed up with rollicking advocacy and deep imaginative witness to the call of the hometown forces — from a place way, way out-of-town! C’mon, pal.

  10. Hugs, everyone. HUGS!

    doowman, ha ha, yes, correct. What happened was this: I initially drew it as a generic WSox player, no name/number/identifying whatevers. Right before I went to post it I realized I should have a real player in there so I threw in AJP because I remembered he was Verlander’s last out and also I knew his jersey number off the top of my head, not even thinking about where he was standing. Good job, me.

  11. There is an easier way for pitchers and catchers to enhance their signals to each other besides painting their entire finger nails or using athletic tape. Game signs is a product that was developed to avoid using these types of substitutions and are a heck of a lot more convenient as well. Game signs is a simple sticker that is placed on the catchers finger nails. They are extremely easy to apply and even easier to take off after a long game. Now a catcher doesnt have to deal with the hassles and wasted time of applying and removing whiteout and athletic tape. Speaking of Athletic Tape, not only can it affect how you grip the baseball but it can also affect you throwing a runner out. Game Signs is being worn all throughout the MLB and Colleges. Pro catchers such as Mike Napoli (Rangers), Kurt Suzuki (A’s), Jonathan Lucroy (Brewers), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Red Sox) Hector Sanchez (Giants), Chris Stewart (Yankees) and AJ Ellis (Dodgers) all wear these on most nights in the bigs.


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