Justin Verlander had another rough outing, yielding seven runs in six innings on a season-high 12 hits to the white-hot Kansas City Royals.
“It just proves the guy is human,” Royals first baseman Billy Butler said. “Everybody is human.”
Justin Verlander: allowed 7+ ER in consecutive starts for 1st time in career; given up 5+ runs in 6 of last 7 starts (7.83 ERA in span).
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 17, 2014
Verlander has allowed at least five earned runs in six of his 15 starts this season.
“You look at my stuff, and it’s still there,” said Verlander after the loss. “I’m not throwing 100 in the ninth inning right now. But it’s still . . . you look at a bunch of other pitchers in the league . . . and I’m still, stuff-wise, there.”
Since winning the American League Cy Young and MVP in 2011, he has allowed five earned runs or more in a higher percentage of his starts each season.
In 2011, when he won the American league Cy Young award and was named the league’s most valuable player, Fangraphs ranked his fastball as the second best in the league in terms of velocity and total runs above average among starters who qualified for the ERA title. This season he ranks and 14th and 82nd, respectively.
Since the 2009 season, we have seen a loss of velocity each and every year
In 2009, Verlander’s average fastball velocity was 96.3 mph with a high of 102.2 mph, according to Brooks Baseball. This year he clocks in at 94.2 mph with a high of 99.2 mph.
It’s not just velocity though: he is having trouble getting the fastball over the plate for strikes.
All this adds up to an inability to overpower hitters like he used to. Verlander is allowing a .400 on-base percentage and .456 slugging with his fastball this season, and striking out just 8.5 percent of batters. In his Cy Young and MVP season of 2011 those numbers were .299, .369 and 16.7 percent, respectively.
“[Verlander is] going to come back to the form he was,” Butler said Monday. “That’s just how it is. You don’t have that many trophies, that many accolades, not to.”
More important than the trophies and accolades is the fastball, and it looks like Verlander just doesn’t have it anymore.