Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander appears to have worked out the kinks that have overshadowed much of his season, as he helped lead the Tigers in an 11-1 rout of the Toronto Blue Jays on Independence Day.
Coming into Thursday’s game, Verlander held onto an 8-5 record and 3.77 ERA in 112.0 innings of work across 17 starts this season. Although stout numbers for a starting pitcher, the results have been regarded as mediocre for the former AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner.
Verlander attributes much of his struggles to the inability to repeat his delivery as he has in past seasons, which he divulged in a radio interview with ESPN Radio on July 1.
“It’s been a battle for me personally this year, mechanics-wise, to be able to repeat my delivery like I have in the past, but everything’s healthy and I think I found something in my last bullpen session before my last start,” said Verlander.
It appears that what he found in that bullpen session was valuable as he turned in a dominant outing on Thursday. Verlander worked seven scoreless innings, surrendering just three hits and striking out five while walking two.
Verlander retired the first 11 batters of the game before surrendering a two-out single to Edwin Encarnacion in the fourth, as well as registered first-pitch strikes to 15 of the 25 batters he faced.
With a sore Miguel Cabrera (back soreness) out of the lineup, Tigers leadoff man and center fielder Austin Jackson stepped up to the plate and led the offensive charge.
Jackson went 4-for-5 with a two-run home run and three RBI, scoring four runs in the 11-run, 16-hit effort by the Tigers.
With the victory, the Tigers pulled ahead of the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central standings, holding a 1 1/2 game lead and boasting a 46-38 record on the season.