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Monday June 20, 2011 12:43 pm

Justin Verlander should start first All-Star Game for AL




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, MLB

Justin VerlanderThe Detroit Tigers' Justin Verlander is making a strong case to start the 2011 MLB All Star Game for the American League. He threw his second consecutive complete game on Sunday and now has recorded a “W” in five straight starts. During those, he’s pitched 41.2 innings with a 0.86 ERA, 37 strikeouts and a 0.65 WHIP. Truly ridiculous numbers over the last three weeks. And none of those include the no-hitter he threw on May 7.

 

His last two starts alone almost guarantee him the AL Player of the Week award. As for that All-Star Game, he’ll have to depend on his fellow players, coaches and managers to keep an eye on what he is doing. Unlike the position players, fans don’t vote for starting pitchers. And if Verlander has a few “average” starts between now and when they announce the winners, he should still be a shoo-in for the job.

Only the Tampa Bay Rays' James Shields has more complete games and shutouts this season (one of each) than the three-time All-Star. However, Verlander has logged more innings, wins and strikeouts, has given up less walks and home runs, and has a better WHIP and an opponent on-base and slugging percentages. Jered Weaver must also be considered for the starter’s role, but while his good numbers are comparable with Verlander’s, such as his 2.06 ERA, Verlander has the edge in most other major categories.

Verlander is in the second of a five-year, $80 million contract extension, and he’s earning every penny of it. With two no-hitters already and several other close calls in 2011 alone, Verlander is establishing himself as one of the best of the next era of pitchers. Starting the All-Star Game and a Cy Young Award are both in this guy’s future, and Detroit will benefit. And we all know that city could use a win.

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