Results tagged ‘ MVP ’
I’ve been meaning to write a full recap of the All-Star Game and related events, but I haven’t had a ton of free time to do so. So I apologize for the delay, but here it is!
For viewers at home, the All-Star Game festivities began with the futures game. I’ll admit that I didn’t get a chance to watch the game in its entirety, but there were plenty of talented up and coming stars to watch. The U.S. fell behind to the World 4-0 going to the bottom of the third, but responded by scoring four runs in the third, and two more in the fourth. In the end, the U.S. Futures won by a final score of 17-5.
Of course, in the limited time I did watch the game, I was able to see the Detroit Tigers’ most valued prospect hit a home run, capping off a MVP award-winning performance. There’s a lot of reasons why Detroit fans should be excited about Nick Castellanos, and we got a good sample of that on national television.
Castellanos went 3-4 with a home run, three runs batted in and a walk. The U.S. fell behind to the World 4-0 going to the bottom of the third, but responded by scoring four runs in the third, and two more in the fourth. In the end, the U.S. Futures won by a final score of 17-5.
It’ll be interesting to see if and when he’ll make his debut for the Tigers. I’d imagine that it’s not impossible for him to get called up in September of this year, but it’s a lot more likely that it won’t be until sometime in 2013. Of course there’s plenty of speculation that the Tigers will include him in a trade, but only for something great in return.
Next up was the home run derby, also known as the Prince Fielder show. There was plenty of long shots into the Kansas City night, including a very impressive showing by Angels star Mark Trumbo. Of course, there was also a bit of controversy, which came courtesy of those in attendance.
Robinson Cano, who was the captain of the American League squad, stated a month before the derby that he would take a Kansas City Royal for he squad. Well, he didn’t, and the Kansas City fans certainly didn’t forget. Once Cano came up to bat, he was greeted with a roar of boos unlike anything I’ve ever heard before. I can’t imagine that it didn’t have some impact on Cano, and I thought it was a little classless on the behalf of the fans in attendance.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problems with fans in attendance booing. You pay for your ticket, so if you want to voice your opinions, I can’t argue with that. The thing that shocked me most, was the fact that they didn’t stop. With each out, the boos seemingly got louder and louder. At some point, they should’ve tried to start getting behind him. He was there to represent the American League, after all.
Instead, Cano put up a goose egg in the first round, and that allowed Prince Fielder to sneak into the second round. After he got there, he didn’t seem to stop. Fielder hit 11 home runs in the second round, securing his place in the finals. His challenger ended up being Jose Bautista, who is leading Major League Baseball with 27 home runs.
Fielder hit first in the final round, hitting 12 home runs. Bautista hit a very respectable seven home runs, but it wasn’t enough for him to win his first ever home run derby. This marked the second time Fielder won the home run derby, the first time coming back in 2009.
For the actual All-Star Game, Justin Verlander was announced to be the starting pitcher for the American League team. I was a bit surprised at the decision, but it’s hard to argue that he wasn’t worthy. Sure, others were qualified, but Verlander wasn’t a bad choice. With home-field advantage for the World Series on the line, the game got under way.
Things didn’t start or end well for Verlander, as he allowed five runs in the first inning. The biggest hit coming when Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants hit a three-run triple to right field. That was all the offense the National League would need, as they cruised to an 8-0 victory.
Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera was named the MVP, going two for three with a two-run home run. With the win, it means that the National League will host the first two games of the 2012 World Series, along with games five, six and seven (all if necessary). Better yet, it also means that the unofficial second half of the season will be soon under way. If the second half is anything like last year, there’s plenty of exciting baseball left to be seen.
There’s an expression in poker, that when you’re accusing someone of cheating, they’ll ask if they have an ace up their sleeve. Simply put, it means they’re hiding something good from you, or are up to some shenanigans. The Detroit Tigers don’t have an ace up their sleeve. With Justin Verlander, we have the whole deck up there.
2011 was a magical year for Justin Verlander, as he won both the American League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award (the first being incredibly rare accomplishment for a pitcher). Many people wondered if he could repeat his 2011 season, and so far, it’s hard to argue.
If you’re looking for a more consistently dominant pitcher in the American League, you won’t find one that’s better than Verlander. So when the Tigers looked to end their two-game losing streak against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and salvage their three-game series, it seemed appropriate to have Verlander on the mound.
He certainly did not disappoint fans, allowing only two runs (both earned), while pitching a complete game en route to getting his eight win of the year. That’s one of the things you want the ace of your pitching staff to do, stop losing streaks.
At this point, Verlander is well on pace to put up numbers similar to those of 2011, where he could once again be part of conversations to determine if he will be worthy of a second MVP trophy. For me, I’m not worried about the accolades and awards. As long as he keeps pitching like he is, I’ll be thankful that he’s on my team.
Justin Verlander won his 20th game of the year today, allowing four runs in six innings pitched. Despite not having his best command of his pitches today, he was fortunate enough to gain enough run support to get the win. There still is no question that Justin Verlander is the MVP of the 2011 Detroit Tigers, but the real question is whether or not he’s the MVP of the American League.
I know I proposed the question about a week or so ago, and I think Verlander has done nothing to hurt his chances by winning again today. It’s rare for a pitcher to win the MVP award, but in my opinion (as well as some others), I think it’s fair to say he deserves it. Without Verlander, the Tigers would be at best a .500 team, but instead they currently find themselves with a seven game lead over the Cleveland Indians (7.5 over the White Sox). You could take the best player out of every team, and no team would be hurt more, than the Tigers hypothetical loss of Verlander. One statistic that a lot of people use, is WAR (wins above replacement), which predicts how many more games a team wins because of them having a certain player. According the the WAR grid (link here), Jose Bautistia has the highest WAR for the 2011 season, with eight. A lot of sportswriters argue this means he’s the most valuable player. They fail to mention that this statistic is not kept for pitchers, though. I’m sorry, but you can’t convince me that Verlander has only allowed the Tigers to win eight more games than his potential replacement.
Simply put, Justin Verlander is more important to the Tigers then anyone else is to their respective teams in the American League. If that doesn’t make you a MVP, then I don’t know what does.
Let’s face it, both band-aids and Justin Verlander serve a very similar purpose, and that’s to stop the bleeding. Granted one does so literally, whereas the other is more figuratively.
The Tigers have desperately needed to call upon Justin Verlander numerous times to get the Tigers back on winning track. If I heard correctly on sports radio, 13 of Verlander’s 17 wins have come after a Tigers loss. I know Tigers manager Jim Leyland doesn’t believe in momentum, but coming from experience both as a baseball player and coach (admittedly a lot less experience in both regards to Leyland), I just find that to be absurd.
Baseball is a game where things seem to go in streaks. A prolific hitter might go through stretches where he goes 2-22, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to give up on them. It’s a crazy thing to witness in baseball, but it seems like success comes from success. Take into account for instance, when two starting pitchers have quality starts in a row. You better believe it turns into a competition for other pitchers on the staff to keep it going. The same thing goes for hitters. Although it’s not always a matter of coincidence or whatever else you want to call it, but there’s a saying in baseball that ‘hitting is addictive.’ It often seems that when one guy starts hitting well, either within a specific game or time frame, there’s usually a few other guys following his lead.
So when someone told me the other day, that Jered Weaver should win the AL Cy Young award if the season ended today, it’s hard to have a strong enough case to disagree. However, if you want to tell me that Weaver is currently the best pitcher in the American League, then I’m going to tell you today that Justin Verlander is without a doubt the most valuable player…not just on the Detroit Tigers, but the entire American League.
When it comes to figuring out why exactly the Tigers have been leading the way in the AL Central, it really seems to come down to a few key components. It’s not far fetched to say the Tigers could have an MVP and Cy Young winner at the end of this year.
Exhibit A: Justin Verlander-Today Verlander recorded his 16th victory, making him 16-5 with a 2.30 ERA, 186 K’s and a no hitter. If you’re looking for any other indications the Verlander should be the current odds on favorite to win the Cy Young, they’re not hard to find. He’s pitched well in big games, has been consistent and not to mention dominant. Even on days where it’s apparent that Verlander doesn’t have his “A-game”, he still finds ways to give the Tigers a chance to win. If he wins nine more starts, and goes 25-5, not only does he put himself in great shape to win the Cy Young, but he’ll certainly gather quite a few votes for MVP.
Exhibit B: Jose Valverde-Yes, I admit this is a long shot of sorts, but think about it. Valverde has still not blown a save this year, converting all 32 of his save opportunities. If he manages to not blow a save for the rest of the year, and ends up with over 50 saves on the year, we’re talking about numbers that would marvel in comparison to that of Eric Gagne back in 2003 when he won the Cy Young award. Will it happen? Probably not, but as a Tigers fan, I’d love to see it.
Not to mention Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta all having great (but probably not MVP type) seasons, and it’s not hard to see why with less than 50 games to go, the Tigers find themselves in first.