illustration by Samara Pearlstein. I know this no-hitter came against the Blue Jays, not the Royals. The TC is from a previous thing, ok. Deal.
Remember when Justin Verlander threw a no-hitter?
Yeah. That happened again.
I fully expected to not see this game, but a series of work-related shenanigans involving people in two states and mostly hinging upon the location of a portable tent conspired to send me home early. As with any Verlander start these days, I thought I would see a bunch of strikeouts, a ton of pitches thrown early, and a generally good pitching performance with flashes of stupidly overpowering brilliance, probably not supported by the bats. You know, the usual.
On the whole I was still glad that I was going to be able to watch it, because, hey, a Verlander start is usually going to be better baseball-viewin’ than a Phil Coke start, if you know what I mean, and I suspect that you do, even the rabid Phil Cokeanistas among you.
I got in around the third or fourth inning. I remember hearing that Verlander had seen 9 batters and sent 9 batters right back to their bench, and thinking that this sounded oddly efficient for him. It was: he needed only 108 pitches to blast through this entire game. Compare that to his last outing, where he needed 127 pitches just to get through 6 and I became fractious as a result. I’m just saying.
As in his previous no-hitter, he was hitting triple digits all over the place even in the 8th and 9th innings, and making it look effortless (as effortless as the highly unnatural and arm-stressing motion of any major league pitch can look, anyways). This is because Justin Verlander is a beast who consumes the sweet terror of opposing batters and excretes pure fastballs.
Oddly, he did not actually strike out many Jays (4 over 9 innings), but since this relative lack of Ks certainly contributed to his efficient use of pitches, I am pleased. It also probably makes the defense feel good about its collective self and that can only be a positive thing.
It would have been a PERFECT GAME if not for JP Arencibia and an intense 12 pitch at-bat that resulted in an eventual walk, the only baserunner of the game for Toronto. Perfection and cleanliness of the bases marred by the offensiveness of persistent bluebirds. Bah, tarnation, etc. After the game Verlander kept saying how it was an impressive at-bat, ‘especially from a young guy like him’, as though Arencibia is not a mere three years younger than Verlander.
I know that it’s Good Baseball and all that, but DAMMIT, Arencibia! Couldn’t you just flail a LITTLE? The Tigers were already cruelly deprived of one recent perfect game, why make us suffer through it again? Have you no sympathy for human and tiger suffering? Have you no HEART?? At least this time it was legitimate, and there is the no-hitter to give us and Verlander warm comforting metaphorical hugs.
Speaking of HUGS, the one that Verlander got immediately following the last out, from Alex Avila, was a beautiful thing to behold.
He also got a tub of ice water dumped over his head in his postgame on-field interview, all college-football-style. I couldn’t see who did it, but they got him quite squarely. Trevor Thompson, who had been holding the mic, took a fair hit himself and had to glisten his way through the rest of the interview.
Justin Verlander has thrown two no-hitters. One of them was a single battle-walk away from being a perfect game. Meditate upon that. Let that marinate in your brain for maximum deliciousness.
I should have downtime at work tomorrow for drawing, so expect some sort of large overwrought Verlander-celebratory illustration here in the near future.