Justin Verlander continued his dominant 2011 campaign last night, holding the Tampa Bay Rays to 1 run on 3 hits on the way to his league leading 19th victory of the year. Detroit padded their lead in the AL Central to 5.5 with the win.
Verlander surrendered his lone run to the first batter he faced. Rays leadoff man Matt Joyce took Verlander deep to right to give Tampa Bay an early 1-0 lead.
Detroit jumped out in front the next frame, as Alex Avila collected his 15th home run of the season. His 2 run shot put the Tigers up 2-1.
Verlander was able to hold that lead before passing the baton to his pen. After the first inning, Verlander only allowed a single hit, a Johnny Damon double. Damon was the only Ray to reach second base on righty over his final 6 frames.
The victory marked Verlander’s 7th straight game in which he’s logged 7 or more innings, a feat he’s accomplished in 16 of his last 17 appearances. Verlander’s now won his last 7 starts.
His ridiculous season has Verlander the early favorite for the AL Cy Young Award. Verlander is the only pitcher in the Majors with over 200 innings pitched and 200 strike outs.
He’s got the game’s best WHIP (0.88) and the American League’s second best ERA (2.28). Verlander makes it a clean sweep in the categories of FIP (2.72), xFIP (2.98) and SIERA (2.75), leading the AL in the trio of stats. The 28 year old also has the highest WAR (6.3) of any American League pitcher.
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