DETROIT This is not a story about how the sky is falling on Detroit Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander. He lost for the first time in his career Tuesday night to the Baltimore Orioles, but is still 8-5 with a 3.72 ERA.
So, while the world is not coming to an end for Verlander, there is no doubt that his world is changing.
Verlander, quite simply, is not dominating hitters this season. And as a result hes not pitching deep into games.
The batting averages of opponents are way up (.217 last year to .257 this season), and his innings pitched are way down.
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones might be an All-Star, but he was batting .077 with two hits in 26 at-bats against Verlander before hitting an opposite-field, three-run homer in the fifth inning.
Baltimore shortstop J.J. Hardy golfed out a two-run homer in the fourth, giving him three homers in five consecutive at-bats against Verlander. Hardy had been 4-for-25 (.160) before that.
I blacked out, Hardy said. I dont know what ...