Found May 19, 2012 on Fox Sports Detroit:
Mlb_indians_at_a3ae
DETROIT -- Less than 24 hours later, Tigers manager Jim Leyland was still raving about Justin Verlander's one-hit shutout of the Pittsburgh Pirates. "Thats probably the best game Ive ever seen pitched, and Ive seen a lot of games -- over 3,000," Leyland said. "I dont know how to explain that. "Anybody who was here last night probably saw one of the best games pitched in baseball, I would think." As talented and driven as Verlander is, it doesn't always mean it's easy for Leyland to just throw his ace out there and let him go. "I have to be careful with him," Leyland said. "He thinks he can throw 175 pitches, and hes dead serious. I told him that will never happen as long as Im here. "Most guys go from 95 (miles per hour), and by the seventh, theyre down to 92 or 91. This guy goes from 92 to 94 to 95 in the middle to 99 to 100 late. Thats why its a freaky thing. Ive never seen anything like it. Ive never seen a better pitched game than that one last night -- never. "If you watch Verlander sometimes, the average person sees 98 (speed) on the scoreboard, but they dont see the 98 I see. I see the difference between the 98 thats more effort, and the 98 thats effortless. Theres a major difference in that, and thats what he did last night. "When he got to 98-100, it was fluid. It wasnt muscling way up. If you watch close, you can see it. Its amazing to me." Leyland said he offered Verlander the lineup card from the game, but he didn't want it. That doesn't mean Verlander wasn't happy with the way he pitched. "Not the best stuff, but the command was pretty good," Verlander said. "I definitely rank it right up there with some of the best pitching performances I've had, maybe No. 1. "That's why I say no-hitters are not easy to come by. Sometimes they come when you least expect it, when you don't have your best stuff. "Yesterday was just an example of that. I pitched about as well as I can, and they scratched a hit. What are you going to do?" Verlander threw his first no-hitter in 2007 against the Milwaukee Brewers and his second last year in Toronto. "I think I'm a better pitcher now than the one against Milwaukee," Verlander said. "I thought the one against Milwaukee was basically pure stuff as opposed to this one, did a lot of pitching, especially early on in the game." Pirates reliever Jason Grilli was a member of the Tigers when Verlander threw that first no-hitter. "He's impressive every time he's out there," Grilli said. "I saw him when he threw his first one, so it was kind of ironic to be on the other side in the other bullpen seeing him throw another one. "He definitely was good when he came up, but you can definitely see he's a matured pitcher as well. He's one of the best. I'm sure he'll have plenty more chances to do what he was doing last night." Grilli agreed that Verlander is much more of a pitcher than he was that June night in 2007. "What he does in the sixth, seventh, eighth inning, he used to do that right out of the gate," Grilli said. "I think it's just maturing in the game. You know your limitations and you know what your capabilities are. "If you stay around long enough, you have the opportunity to do that. It was definitely impressive." Verlander still feels he has another level to reach to become the best, which is what he aims to be. "If I can pitch every game like I did last time," Verlander said. "That's not that far off. I'm not saying a one-hitter. I'm just saying the way I pitch. "I can pitch like that many times, and it's not going to be a one-hit shutout. If I can continue to pitch like that consistently, that's obviously what everybody's looking for, more consistency." As good as he is on the mound, Verlander is still looking for his first major-league hit. In 20 at-bats in interleague play, he has not managed to get one. Maybe this will be the year. "God, I hope so so I can get the monkey off my back," Verlander said with a laugh. "I think when the first one comes, it's going to be a rain, a parade of hits." Verlander took batting practice with the rest of the pitchers before Saturday's game, even managing to hit a home run. "I'm just out there the first day just taking easy hacks, not trying to hurt myself or anything, just nice and smooth," Verlander said. "I think I'm 0-for-25 or something in my career, something like that, I don't know. "Miggy and Prince both went through those streaks this year, so I'm right up there with the best hitters in the league." VALVERDE, JACKSON UPDATE It's beginning to look more and more like Jose Valverde (lower back strain) and Austin Jackson (mild abdominal strain) won't play until next week's series in Cleveland, which starts Tuesday. "Valverde is day-to-day, but he is going to throw (Sunday)," Leyland said. "Hes going to throw and see how he feels. If he felt great, he may be available (Sunday). I doubt that. I think itll be Tuesday in Cleveland. Leyland said he's not going to take any chances with Jackson, who is also day-to-day and planned to take a few swings off a tee and do some throwing to test the injury on Saturday. "I guess try to push it as far as it can go, and if it starts hurting at all, kind of back it off a little bit," Jackson said. "I think the main thing is to see how far I can go with it, get a good gauge from that." CATCHING UP WITH GRILLI Grilli, a native of Royal Oak, Mich., has had somewhat of a rocky road since leaving the Tigers in 2008, when he was traded to the Colorado Rockies. In addition to his time with the Rockies, he's had a couple of stints in the minors before ending up with the Pirates last season. This season he's 1-1 with a 2.40 ERA, fifth in the majors among relievers, and has 26 strikeouts. The Pirates are 12-4 in his 16 appearances. Although Grilli -- whose whose father, Steve, also played for the Tigers -- had some good moments with the Tigers, he struggled at times and fans were not always kind. But Grilli has fond memories of his time in Detroit. "It's always hard when you're departing somewhere where you're getting some of that flak at the end, but I try to take away the positives, too," Grilli said. "I had a chance at a World Series run here. I did some good things here, despite what some people may think." Grilli's son Jayse was born when he was with the Tigers and is 4 years old now. "He might be throwing strikes of a different kind," Grilli said. "He's into bowling. He just started loving it, and in the offseason, we go at least twice a week." Even though his career has had its ups and downs, Grilli is grateful to be in the big leagues. "Life is good. I can't complain," Grilli said. "I've persevered through a lot of stuff, and I'm still wearing a jersey."
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Leyland surprised by Tigers' tailspin

Manager Jim Leyland's bench might be thin but his patience doesn't seem to be. Leyland expressed surprise Thursday that his club is two games below .500 and continues to flounder 38 games into the season. Detroit reached its low point by being swept by Minnesota, 4-3, and has lost five of its last seven outings. "The only thing that's been consistent is the...

Leyland on criticism: 'Got it coming'

Detroit manager Jim Leyland says the criticism of his struggling team is to be expected. The Tigers are 18-20 entering Friday night's game against Pittsburgh -- a strikingly mediocre mark for a team that won the AL Central by 15 games in 2011 and added Prince Fielder in the offseason. While Motown waits and hopes the team will hit its stride, patience is running a bit thin....

Verlander takes no-hitter into ninth

Justin Verlander came within two outs of his third career no-hitter, allowing only Josh Harrison's ninth-inning single in the Detroit Tigers' 6-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night. The 29-year-old Verlander, last year's AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner, nearly became the sixth major league pitcher with at least three career no-hitters. But with one out...

Detroit Tigers’ Justin Verlander Heating Up For Summer

Justin Verlander’s latest brush with greatness gives enough reason to expect more spectacular pitching from him this season — not that he hasn’t been dominant and otherworldly already, but the 6-foot-5 Detroit Tigers ace most definitely has plenty of nastiness to unleash come summer. He showed that in 2011, and gave a preview of what’s to come [...]

Verlander Loses No-No in the 9th with One Out

He almost does it again! Justin Verlander almost does it again. As the Pittsburgh Pirates faced the Detroit Tigers tonight, Verlander almost completed his third career no-hitter. His first no-no came at home on June 12th, 2007, against the Milwaukee Brewers. His second was thrown last year on May 7th, in Toronto, against the Blue Jays. Now, with the Pirates visiting, Verlander put...

Verlander reaction to losing his no-hitter: “F-bomb”

When Pirates utilityman Josh Harrison’s blooper got by the Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta with one out in the ninth inning Friday to bust up Justin Verlander’s no-hitter, everyone had a reaction.  41,000+ fans at Comerica Park mustered up a collective “ahhhh”.  Sitting on my couch with only my one year old home with me (sleeping in a different room), I verbalized a ...

Verlander gem bittersweet for Pirates manager

DETROIT -- Clint Hurdle grew up in Michigan and dreamed about watching one of his beloved Tigers pitch a no-hitter. Friday night, he almost got his wish. The Big Rapids native, now the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, could only watch helplessly as Justin Verlander took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against his team. Even when Josh Harrison's soft liner up the middle...

I’ll admit it, I jinxed Justin Verlander’s potential no-hitter against Pirates

Baseball is a game of superstition, warranted or not. Most of the time it is warranted. That’s just how the game goes. Growing up playing the game for most of my life, and now coaching a fine bunch of young men at Burton Atherton, I often encourage players to do the same exact thing they [...]

Game 2012.40: Pirates at Tigers

Detroit Tigers, 19-20, 3 games behind Cleveland. Last season on May 7 the Tigers were 16-18, and a whole 7 games behind Cleveland in the Central.  Then Justin Verlander sparked the team with a no-hitter against the Blue Jays, they won their next 6, and improved their way to a Central Division title. Could Verlander’s dominating one-hitter last night be the spark that turns the...

Little-known Harrison stays hot while breaking up Verlander's no-hit bid

No member of the Pittsburgh Pirates wanted to be involved with a Justin Verlander no-hitter. But the Detroit Tigers ace had one going heading into the ninth inning against the visiting Pirates on Friday night. With one out in the ninth, unheralded Josh Harrison singled off Verlander to avoid being no-hit. "No one wants to be part of a no-hitter, so it was nice to look...

MLB Insiders: Detroit Tigers

The Pirates open a three-game interleague series in Detroit on Friday night. Right-hander Charlie Morton will be on the hill for the Bucs. The Tigers will counter with ace right-hander Justin Verlander.

Factor12 Rating Leaders: Week 6

The Factor12 Rating (F12) is an analytic measurement utilizing league average performance to compare the value of all MLB pitchers. Brandon Beachy (1) Justin Verlander regains the number one F12 Rating after pitching his latest masterpiece (7IP / 2H / 1ER / 1BB / 8K) against the Oakland Athletics.  The 2011 American League Cy Young Award winner holds a 31.009 Factor12 Rating. (2...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.