Detroit Tigers: Can Justin Verlander Spark the Rotation?


Justin Verlander’s return could give the Detroit Tigers’ starting rotation some much needed stability.

With the Tigers taking the “one step forward two steps back approach” to playing baseball lately, it’s pretty obvious that something is missing. Maybe it’s too soon to make any true judgments, but it’s pretty obvious that the new look starting rotation needs a shot in the arm. Something to both rile them up and calm them down and motivate them and encourage them and lead them.

It’s pretty obvious that the Detroit Tigers need Justin Verlander back.

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After a horrendous few games from Shane Greene, an unproven rookie in Kyle Ryan, and an erratic Anibal Sanchez, the Tigers rotation desperately needs a little stability. They need a little swagger back, something they had in previous years when they had one of the best rotations in baseball.

More important than swagger though, they need a pitcher who can go out and locate a fastball or drop in a change-up for a swinging strike. They need a pitcher who can give their team a chance to win.

Justin Verlander could be that person.

Definitely not the Justin Verlander from last year though – the one coming off off-season core surgery, who struggled throughout the year. Probably not even the Justin Verlander from 2013, when his strikeout rate dropped and he pitched the fewest number of innings since 2008.

What the Tigers need is vintage Justin Verlander, circa 2012. A hard throwing, nasty, arrogant pitcher who hated  losing, and didn’t do it that often. A pitcher who lead his team and challenged the other starters to try to keep up with him. A pitcher who could stop losing streaks and eat up innings.  A pitcher who won.

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  • Verlander had the excuses last year for his performances. Any finely tuned athlete, when cut open in the core, will falter. Look at what happened to Miguel Cabrera, who had a similar surgery and experienced a similar decline in his performance. The big question will be whether the Verlander’s 2013 season was indicative of a pitcher playing through an injury, or an pitcher who’s age and pitch count were starting to affect his ability.

    Justin Verlander wants to be great. He wants to be a hall of fame pitcher. And he wants the accolades that go with that – the fast girls and hot cars…oh wait, I mean the fast cars and the hot girls. Either way. He wants to be remembered in Detroit as being one of the best pitchers ever.  He wants a legacy.

    Leading this team to the playoffs this year would add onto an already-impressive resume.  Make no mistake – winning with this team, with the injuries and painful offensive droughts, won’t be easy. But that is what a starting pitcher can do – shut another team down entirely.  Save your bullpen by working into the later innings.  Lead your team to victory through your attitude and sheer force of will.

    Not every starting pitcher can do that. Justin Verlander had the ability and the attitude once. The attitude for sure is still there. It remains to be seen if the ability is.

    Next: Tigers Select Beau Burrows in First Round of MLB Draft

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