Justin Verlander Has Yet to Become a Complete MLB Pitcher
Yes, Verlander has a filthy menu of pitches that consistently makes opposing hitters look foolish, but it's the mental aspect that continuously gets the best of him.
With his ability, the physical aspect of the game comes easy, but his emotions get the best of him on too many occasions.
The Tigers are struggling this season, and Verlander has put it upon himself to be perfect every time he takes the mound. While he's truly dazzling to watch and is a once-in-a-generation type of player, he needs to calm down.
Each time he takes his turn in the rotation, it's not out of question that something special is going to happen. Fans have been spoiled by his wizardry on the hill as they've come to expect perfection every outing.
It's evident that Verlander feels the pressure of putting his club on his back and taking them the distance. The only problem is that every time he allows a baserunner, his adrenaline kicks into hyperdrive, his fastball hits triple digits and he clearly becomes upset.
When this occurs, Verlander becomes a loose cannon on the mound. His pitch count skyrockets, which isn't of great concern considering that he has thrown 100-plus pitches in every start since July 22, 2010, but it's still apparent and alarming that he's distressed. The Tigers' bullpen always seems to be exhausted by the time Verlander pitches as the team desperately needs him to go wire-to-wire.
The pressure to perform on Verlander is always immense, but the organization must find a way to calm their ace down when this unnecessary stress takes place. In his AL MVP/Cy Young season of 2011, the biggest improvement in Verlander's game was that he came out and didn't throw 100 mph fastballs in the first inning. While that's still noticeable in 2012, he's still incomplete.
Will Justin Verlander win the AL Cy Young Award in 2012?
Yes, the Tigers have yet to meet expectations this season, but they're not to be left for dead. A number of injuries and untimely hitting has hurt the Tigers in 2012, but their record is bound to head north any day now.
In order for the Tigers to do so, they'll need the face of their franchise to pitch on an even keel. Verlander must learn to harness his emotions in order for the Tigers to accomplish their mission. He's the guy whose teammates look to steer the ship, and when he's off-kilter, the team seems to get out of sync a bit.
He needs to realize that he's human, and it's nearly too impossible to pitch perfectly once, nonetheless every time. After all, he's facing professional batters who would love to tell their grandchildren that they reached base against the great Verlander.
Only when the future Hall of Famer centers his Chi and finds mental stability on the mound will he become the perfect pitcher.
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