Every once in while baseball comes up with a special player, a guy who pays for the admission price of the ticket every time he takes the field.
The Detroit Tigers have one of those special players.
Tigers right handed pitcher Justin Verlander showed up tonight at Comerica Park in downtown Detroit, walked out to his position on the pitching mound, and began to mesmerized 40,000+ baseball fans, striking out 12, and tossing a 1-hitter at the Pittsburgh Pirates.
(Photo courtesy of Julian H. Gonzales/Detroit Free Press)
One hit, a one out single to center field on a 1-2 count, ugly looking swing from the Pirates lead off hitter, Josh Harrison, with one out in the ninth, was the only hit for the Buccos, and spoiled what would have been the 3rd career no-hitter for baseball's best pitcher.
The reigning American League Cy Young and Most Valuable Player, Verlander is starting to put together another spectacular season for the Tigers, and is most certainly looking like a shoo-in to be the starter for the A.L. in the All-Star Game in Kansas City.
If your a baseball fan, especially a Detroit Tigers fan, there is no chance of ever missing a start by Verlander.
Verlander is just 29 years old, has won 111 careers games, in just 207 big league starts.
The final pitch of Verlander's 16th career complete game, was a 99 MPH fastball that the Pirate's Andrew McCutcheon grounded weekly to Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta for the final out of the game.
At one point tonight, Verlander retired 18 consecutive Pirate batters.
51 times in a row now...51 times, Verlander has started a game and pitched at least 6 innings.
Last year Verlander won 24 games, and that was after a bad start early in the season.
This year Verlander is 5-1, with a 2.47 ERA, has 56 K'S, has walked just 12 batters, has a WHIP of 0.87, and big league batters are hitting just .187 against the fire balling right hander.
If you're on Twitter, you need to follow Verlander, he's very active, and get's the fans involved in his tweets...go to @JustinVerlander.
Here's his tweet after the game tonight...
That was a lot of fun tonight. Crowd was awesome! Gives me chills thinking about it.
I wasn't old enough to see Sandy Koufax, but I'm here to see the next best thing, Justin Verlander.