Touch 'Em All: Tigers' Verlander getting the job done

Justin Verlander goes for win No. 22 on Wednesday.
Justin Verlander goes for win No. 22 on Wednesday.
Posted: September 07, 2011

Detroit ace Justin Verlander is leading the America League in in wins (21), ERA (2.34), innings (223) and strikeouts (224). The right has a 42/3-inning lead over CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees and a 20-strikeout gap over Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners.

"I never set goals," Verlander said Sunday. "Say a magic number of wins for a pitcher is 20, or 200 innings, or whatever it may be. I had accomplished a lot of those things before September. If that's a goal of mine, then I think subconsciously you're able to let down or ease off the accelerator because you've accomplished what you want.

"On the flip side of that, don't set anything, just go out there and do whatever you can possibly do on a given day, and at the end of the year you look back on stuff like that. Once the last pitch is thrown, then I'll look back at the season."

"I know where I'm at; I see the numbers," Verlander said. "I know what's going on, but it doesn't affect anything. I'm not going to say it doesn't matter, because it does. I know I'm having a good season, but I don't really pay attention to [statistics]; it's not in the forefront.

"Winning is the team thing, and the individual stuff comes once the season is over."

Verlander's .808 winning percentage also leads the AL. He also leads the AL in road ERA (2.56), which includes his no-hitter at Toronto, and is first in batting average against (.192). He's the only starter on the list under .200.

Verlander's next start is at Cleveland on Wednesday, where he will seek victory No. 22.

Blame it on the sun

A day after Albert Pujols complained about hitting in late-afternoon shadows after a loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, his manager backed him up. Tony La Russa said Tuesday he'd been hesitant to criticize conditions after a 4-1 loss because it might be perceived as sour grapes.

The Cardinals were 2 for 22 the last seven innings and the Brewers weren't happy with the visibility, either.

The game started at 3:10 p.m. and by the middle of the game the mound was in the sun with pitchers striding into shadows. Players weren't happy about the start time given that it hadn't been a TV decision.

Many Cardinals take early batting practice because it's tougher to see during the regular time in late afternoon.


The Seattle Mariners were charged with a season-high five errors in their loss to the pennant-contending Los Angeles Angels. It very easily could have been six on Monday night..

Anthony Vasquez was charged with seven runs - six earned - and six hits in 52/3 innings. The former USC lefthander has surrendered 18 earned runs, 22 hits and six home runs in 15 innings over his first three major-league starts, including a 13-5 loss to the Angels last Tuesday at Seattle.

"Vasquez deserved a better fate," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "We literally gave them four or five runs. We were just sloppy all day."


Boston Red Sox righthander Josh Beckett has a sprained right ankle and will miss his next scheduled start Sunday at Tampa Bay.

Beckett left in the fourth inning of Monday's start at Toronto after experiencing pain in his ankle on consecutive pitches.

He flew back to Boston and was examined Tuesday.

The diagnosis: ankle sprain.

The good news: no damage to Beckett's ankle tendons or his Achilles' tendon.

The prognosis: Beckett will be re-evaluated later this week.

- Staff and wire reports

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