Twice as Nice


Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander completed the major’s second no hitter of the 2011 season Saturday against the Toronto Blue Jays.  The game marked the right-hander’s second career no-no, the first coming during the 2007 season.

Verlander becomes the third active pitcher with multiple no-hitters, joining Roy Halladay and Mark Buehrle.

The former Rookie of the Year was perfect through 7 innings, his first and only blemish coming on an 8th inning walk to rookie catcher J. P. Arencibia.  Still, the pitcher faced the minimum number of batters, as he was able to induce a double play ball off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion.

Detroit scored three runs in the third to give Verlander all the cushion he would need.

The Tigers faced a bit of a scare in the fifth that almost resulted in not only the game’s first hit but also the removal of their ace.  Encarnacion lined a pitch back up the middle, the ball deflecting off Verlander’s arm.  The pitcher was able to record the out and trainers quickly went to work on him.  They were able to reduce the swelling and allow Verlander to continue his march into the record books.

While Verlander threw 74 of his 108 pitches for strikes, he was only able to punch out four batters.  This he attributed to his inconsistent breaking ball.  While he was around the zone all night, the righty was without his steady strikeout pitch that allowed him to average a 9.6 K/9 ratio entering today’s game.

Verlander becomes the second AL Central pitcher this week to make history, Minnesota Twins starter Francisco Liriano threw the season’s first no hitter Tuesday evening against the Chicago White Sox.

While Liriano’s effort Tuesday included six walks, Verlander surrendered only one free pass.

With Saturday’s no-hitter, Verlander has now provided the Tigers with a quality start in each of his eight appearances so far this season.