MEMORABLE MOMENTS 2015-Verlander’s “statement” game

Having won four consecutive AL-Central division titles, expectations were high in the Motor City entering 2015. The Detroit Tigers had the pieces in place to contend, as their ace Justin Verlander (Manakin-Sabot) would lead the Tigers staff. Hopes for a repeat were dealt a setback, however, when Verlander suffered a triceps strain during Spring Training and opened the season on the DL. He was initially expected to be out a week, but that turned into two months, as the Tigers did not want to rush his rehab, despite the criticism of Tigers fans, who felt he was not serious about wanting to get back ASAP.

Verlander finally made his season debut on June 13 and pitched 5 innings of 2-run ball in a no decision. His subsequent starts were not as kind. On 2 occasions, he would allow 7 earned runs, and his ERA soared to a high of 6.62 at one point, clearly not endearing himself to the Tigers faithful. He allowed 5 earned runs on Aug 4, putting his ERA at 5.05, but then he finally put together some solid outings. He was carrying a 1-6 record, but with a respectable 3.86 ERA, into his start on the night of August 26, a home start against the Los Angeles Angels.

It would be the night that showed the Tigers den, and the rest of the baseball world, that Justin Verlander was back.

Verlander threw 8 innings of no-hit ball, before finally allowing a leadoff double in the ninth, a ball that just barely stayed fair. (Where the ball landed on the foul line, had it landed 2 inched to the left, it would have been a foul ball!) Verlander was just inches away from his 3rd career no-hitter, but shook it off to finish off a complete game shutout, a 5-0 win for Detroit. Verlander finished that night allowing 2 walks, that one hit, and 9 strikeouts.

Verlander would go on to post some solid outings afterwards, and finished the season with a 5-8 record, a 3.38 ERA, and 113 strikeouts.

With the retirements of Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, and A.J. Burnett, Verlander is now 4th among active pitchers with 157 career wins.

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