Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 5/11/13
DETROIT -- Yes, Tigers fans, that was really Justin Verlander on the mound Saturday night. He may have looked like Jamie Moyer or late-career Frank Tanana, but it was the Tigers ace trying to survive a game without his legendary fastball. It didn't go well. Verlander did strike out seven batters in his five innings mostly with his changeup and curveball but the lack of a working fastball meant that he gave up six hits, five walks and four runs. "That happens to me about once or twice a season," a frustrated Verlander said. "My bullpen before the game was the best I've had this season, but it didn't carry over to the game." He started the game like the heater was the only thing he had getting up to 95 mph as he threw fastballs on 13 of his first 15 pitches. The problem was that he couldn't get them over the plate. By the time he started mixing in some off-speed pitches, Nick Swisher had hit an RBI double and, for just the the third time in his career, Verlander had walked a batter with the bases loaded. "I was yanking every fastball I threw," he said. "If I tried to hit the outside corner to a righty, it was going way outside, and if I tried to go inside to a lefty, I was pulling it right over the middle of the plate and they always seemed to hit it for a double. I've got to fix it in my next bullpen session." For the next four innings, Verlander pitched more like the Eddie Harris character from Major League than his usual Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn. Cleveland got a steady diet of changeups, curveballs and sliders. He still wasn't great, but he kept the Tigers in the game. Cleveland made it 3-0 in the second on Asdrubal Cabrera's RBI double on, of course, a fastball, but Jhonny Peralta's homer got Detroit back within two. "He was just all over the place, especially with the fastball," Jim Leyland said. "He got his breaking stuff going pretty good, but the 62 pitches in the first two innings just wore him out." Leyland, though, wasn't worried about his ace. "I think everyone has gotten spoiled by that guy he's so good that when he has a bad night, everyone wants to sound the alarm," Leyland said. "There's no alarm. These things happen to everyone, even the best of them, and tonight it happened to the best of them." Verlander shut the Indians down in the third and fourth innings, throwing nothing harder than a 90-mph changeup, but he went back to the fastball in the fifth with more bad results. Facing Mark Reynolds, who had already struck out twice, Verlander threw a 95-mph heater on 2-2, and Reynolds lined it into centerfield for an RBI single. "Usually when my pitch count gets up early, I can spot my fastball on the corners and get some quick outs," he said. "I couldn't do that today, so every out was a battle. Every time I tried to go back to the fastball, it got hit." As it turned out, Detroit's late rally made every run important. The Tigers narrowed the gap to 7-6 in the ninth, and had Miguel Cabrera up with two on and two out. Chris Perez ran the count to 3-2 before getting Cabrera to ground out to end the game. "I'll take that situation every time," Leyland said. "We fought tooth and nail from 6-1 down and we got the exact guy in the exact spot we wanted. You just can't expect him to do it every time."
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Six teams on upset alert in NFL Week 7

Kevin Durant would ‘love’ to make All-Defensive Team

Looks like Lonzo Ball has something to say

Jose Altuve: ‘I literally love Justin Verlander’

Marshawn Lynch suspended one game for contact with official

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Chris Paul could miss a month with knee injury

WATCH: LeBron rejects Giannis at the rim with big block

15 key questions for NFL Week 7

Vin Scully will not make appearance during World Series

Leonard Fournette still not practicing ahead of Week 7

Dusty Baker calls Nationals dismissal ‘hard to understand’

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cubs owner up for Heritage Foundation post

The 'Like Mike, only better' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with newbies Rutta and Forsling

The 'Old faces in new places' quiz

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Houston Astros hold off Yankees, forcing Game 7

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cubs owner up for Heritage Foundation post

The 'Like Mike, only better' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker