Category Archives: Verlander

Justin Verlander: MVP of everything.

all illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Justin Verlander, MVP of baseball!

Justin Verlander, MVP of Detroit!

Justin Verlander, MVP of America!

Justin Verlander, MVP of the world!!

Justin Verlander, MVP of THE UNIVERSE!!


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Justin Verlander: your 2011 Most Valuable Player in the American League. A new illustration will be coming along as soon as I get some free time, but I don’t feel bad reusing this one right now, because going over the awesomeness of Justin Verlander again and again will never get old.

Justin Verlander wins the Cy Young award because of course he does.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Your 2011 American League Cy Young Award Winner is Justin Verlander. This is just and correct. This is as it ought to be.

Justin Verlander did not just win the Cy Young award. He DOMINATED it. He EXHIBITED TOTAL MASTERY over it. He won it unanimously. Getting baseball voters to agree on anything may seem impossible, but it was inevitable here, because those who would seek to deny the majesty that is Justin Verlander found themselves eliminated from this plane of existence. Nature abhors a vacuum and other such abnormalities.

Of course Justin richly deserved this award. He threw a no-hitter and won many a baseball game and had good numbers and threw more pitches than the indoor batting cage pitching machine. All arguments are invalid and you know this in both your heart and your brain.

Jason Beck has the wacky-long article, wherein Justin claims that:

–Johan Santana in 2006 was downright studly,

–“If you had told me at the beginning of the year that I was going to be a shoo-in for the Cy Young, I would have been absolutely ecstatic and amazed and all these adjectives,” and

–Jered Weaver is “a good friend” of his.

I can’t help but have a sinking feeling that this award means he will somehow fail to win the MVP (which he also deserves and in a more perfect world would have already won by now)… but listen to me. Wah wah our team ace might not get the MVP award despite the fact that the Tigers didn’t make it to the World Series. Wah wah he only got a Cy Young. Wah wah First Baseball World Problems.

Justin Verlander, Cy Young. Justin Verlander, President of Pitching.

Stupid Awards Season

Well, here we are. The postseason is over. The preseason is many months away. Roar of the Tigers has stopped watching TV in the name of actually (gasp!) doing work. This season… what season is this? It is a season constructed by Major League Baseball in an attempt to appease us, to give us something to talk about that isn’t trades involving Melky Cabrera or the sad state of Oriole affairs. Yes, we are firmly in the midst of Stupid Awards Season.

Stupid Awards Season asks you to care deeply about these poorly determined awards. And you want to care! You want to care because you want your favorite super wicked awesome baseball player to be recognized by everyone for his super wicked awesomeness. At the same time, you don’t want to care, because you (if you are a sane, moderately educated baseball fan) recognize that these awards are at some essential level mostly what Jim Leyland would call, ahem, horsesh!t.


drawings by Samara Pearlstein

Miguel Cabrera wins the batting title. Miguel Cabrera does not win the Silver Slugger. I would tell you how this makes sense, but I cannot, because it actually makes no sense whatsoever. Adrian Gonzalez is a good hitter and all, but Miguel was better than him at basically everything you can legally do with a bat in the game of baseball this year.

It’s ok, because Miguel loves his own bat and has no need for that stupid silver hardware, but it’s the principle of the thing.


Alex Avila wins the Silver Slugger at catcher. Did he catch more games than anyone else in the universe? Yes. Does this mean that, in my biased little fan-heart, I think he deserves all the awards ever? Yes, yes, of course. Were his overall numbers better than, saaaaay, those of Mike Napoli, who basically hit better across the board and went to the World Series to boot? Erm. Well.

But, you see: this we like. Alex Avila’s durability and (perhaps more importantly) dogged tenacity convince voters that he deserves a metal stick more than Mike Napoli’s 1.046 OPS does. Stupid Awards Season!

Then Austin Jackson fails to win a Gold Glove. Okay. The fact that I wanted him to win is almost certainly, in this case, the tiny Paws in my brain guiding my thoughts. And again, it’s not as if he desperately needs it to tell us all that sometimes he makes plays so good that Rod Allen loses his mind and control of his vocal cords. Just more Stupid Awards Season nonsense.

We are still waiting on the MVP results. But Justin Verlander did get another award recently. It was Player of the Year (or something?) in the Players Choice Awards (or something?). These are even MORE made-up than Silver Sluggers and Gold Gloves. They are nice because they involve charity, but basically they are a measure of how much a particular dude has impressed all the other dudes in the MLBPA in any given year.

Justin Verlander frightens his opposition and his stunning good looks have charmed his peers. He commands respect and he’s popular. This particular Stupid Award is perfect for him, and he has duly received it. Woo, yay, etc.

If a Tiger does not win the MVP award, it will not matter in the least. The award is not strictly based on merit. At root it is meaningless. But that won’t stop our righteous and strident indignation. Something to look forward to! Thanks, Stupid Awards Season!

a little visual reminder to voters

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Let’s say that you are an entity involved in the Major League Baseball MVP voting this year. You are still wrestling with the decision of what to do with your precious AL MVP vote, and for some strange reason you are reading this blog. Well, hypothetical voter friend, you have come to the right place. Gaze at the image above these words. Let it imprint itself on your consciousness.

It’s very simple. This is a reminder to help you hold the proper voting concept in your brain bits at all times.

M: Miguel Cabrera
V: Justin Verlander
P: Paws

Out of those three, nobody will care which way you vote; all are valid choices. But remember! MVP: Miguel, Verlander, Paws. Now go do your bit for truth, justice, and the Detroit way.

Apparently the Tigers are not quite dead yet.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

–Justin Verlander threw so many pitches. So many pitches. I recall at one point Joe Buck and Tim McCarver were talking about the bullpen and how it should get going right away. I looked up at the score bug and realized it was only the 6th inning. What the heck, FOX? Why would you be turning dewy eyes to the scandalously thin Detroit bullpen this early? And on a day when Justin Verlander is starting, no less!

Then they showed Justin’s pitch count, through 5-and-a-bit. I think it was 110 pitches or something like that. Definitely over 100.

He ended up going 7.1 innings and throwing 133 pitches, because of course he did. Of course. Justin Verlander is secretly pitching in the NPB inside his own heart.

–Miggy doubled. Victor tripled. Avila, Delmon, and the Rhino homered. All of this came off of CJ Wilson, except for the Rhino’s contribution. Is good. Alex has been struggling so much lately, his homer was especially special and generated all sorts of warm happy feelings.

–Delmon actually homered TWICE, and this with a strained/busted/sore/otherwise-wonked oblique. Has there ever been a player so manifestly relieved to not be playing for the Twins anymore?

–The rain more or less held off. Also good. Further rainouts or rain delays are no longer the fault of Detroit.

–THANK YOU PHIL COKE. He was far from perfect, but he was good enough to stay in the game and not give it away. This preserved the rest of the bullpen, which was extra important today because there was actually nobody else available in the bullpen.

Well, there was Brad Penny, but that doesn’t count. We’re only considering viable options here.

–I HAVE A RALLY TOWEL. MetsGrrl had a family connection to one and offered to send it along, because she is made of cupcakes and kittens and magic. It arrived this afternoon, prior to the game. RotT gets a rally towel; Tigers win a game. Coincidence? I SUSPECT NOT.

It’s a pretty good time to be a Detroit fan.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

The Tigers are division champs and are going to the playoffs (ooo, still fun to type). The Lions are 2-0. The Wolverines are 3-0 and Denard Robinson has the best smile in all of college football. You had better enjoy the heck out of this right now.

Yesterday was especially enjoyable. The Lions beat the Chiefs. They beat the Chiefs 48-3. I mean, if you are not a longtime Lions fan, you do not understand. Even when the Lions did get one of their rare wins in the recent past, it was NOT a 48-3 blowout. That’s the sort of thing that happened TO the Lions.

But the Chiefs committed and were called for all sorts of stupid penalties (this used to be the Lions’ favorite thing to do! [actually, as long as Gosder Cherilus is on the team, it will be to some extent. But they were clean compared to KC yesterday.]) They turned the ball over 7 billion times. They were unable to stop the juggernaut (!) that was the Detroit offense (!!). Matthew Stafford threw the ball where it needed to go and, more often than not, it got there! He was able to come out and watch the backups get some reps in the 4th quarter! The crowd was even able to get in one resounding SUUUUUUUHHHH at the end of the game.

Roary got completely taken out by a Chiefs player on the sideline and popped right back up, while the Chief had to be carted away with some sort of horrific-looking knee injury. It was that sort of a game.

Meanwhile, the Tigers (AL Central division champion Tigers!) handled the A’s. They had a hangover loss on Saturday, but bounced back strong thanks to the magical wonderbeast that is Justin Verlander. And, you know, some other cats too.

Guillermo Moscoso, whom you may remember we traded away for the privilege of experiencing Gerald Laird, had a no-hitter going for much of the game. Austin Jackson ruined that with a home run, the rudest sort of no-hitter ruination. Brandon Inge later pinch hit and doubled in a run, just to make the haters choke on their bile a little. Ramon Santiago sacrificed in the third run, because why not.

But it was really the Verlander (and Valverde) show, as per usual. Justin went 8 innings and gave up 3 hits (all singles) and 3 walks with 6 Ks. He got his 24th win. Justin Verlander has more wins than Rick Porcello has years of life. Papa Grande got his 46th save, keeping his streak perfect.

Savor this, Detroit. Bask in it. There’s no telling how much longer it will last.

Justin Verlander gets to 20.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

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.

Winning is great, but stop this senseless abuse.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

It’s getting worse. As if the unrelenting schedule of play was not bad enough… as if the constant foul ball foot abuse, the whacks to the center of the mask, the bad bounces that strike unprotected hands were not bad enough… as if the collisions at the plate where 10,000 things can go wrong at once are not bad enough…

Now they’re going for his NECK! Holy Paws, this needs to stop. Alex Avila is going to end the season in pieces, or I am going to have a nervous breakdown on his behalf. Possibly both. Probably both.

Other things from this game:

–Justin Verlander gave up a leadoff home run to Matt Joyce, then settled in and controlled the heck out of the rest of the game. I’m willing to chalk the homer up to a donation to orphaned kittens. It didn’t get in the way of Verlander’s 19th win of the season, so it’s all good.

–Alex Avila homered, because he is stronger than a mortal man and can do things like that even while suffering inhumane amounts of catcher abuse.

–Don Kelly homered, because LOL.

–Papa Grande in non-save situations is rather nerve-wracking, but I would still rather watch him a hundred times than Fernando Rodney once in the same situation.

–I really like when the Verlander/Avila battery catches someone stealing, or picks someone off (it was a CS today, of Ben Zobrist). Verlander’s move is a deadly cobra strike and Avila’s arm is as mighty as his beard. We all know this, but it is nice to remind the rest of the league every so often.

–In the dugout, at some point in the middle of the game: Scherzer up by the rail, Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez talking to someone (Porcello, I think?), with someone behind them sitting on the bench. Magglio started putting his shirt up over his nose, acting all ridiculous and coy, and so did the guy on the bench. Rod and Mario realized that there was Fart Fun happening in the dugout, and lost their minds giggling.

A shot a minute later made it seem like Miggy was accusing Max of being the offending party, but I suppose we shall never know.

–Victor Martinez was a late scratch from the lineup with BACK SPASMS. Miggy DH’d and Kelly played first. Obviously not good, since back spasms can and do recur, and especially not good because changes in gait (such as one might have from a KNEE INJURY) can lead to back spasms. VMart might be setting himself up for a deathspiral of unhealing hurtiness here.

–The emergency catcher role was allegedly shifted from Kelly to Inge today, even though the word on the electronic street had been that the FO didn’t think Inge’s knees were healthy enough to catch, even on rare occasion. Of course, since there is no backup at the moment, the emergency catcher is technically also the backup catcher. We may see something come of this, that’s all I’m sayin’.

–I feel like there was something else, but I forgot. Oh well.

Does it ever get boring talking about how good Justin Verlander is?

all photos by Samara Pearlstein