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Justin Verlander still instills fear in the opposition
2013 hasn't exactly been a banner year for Justin Verlander, but the 2011 AL Cy Young winner is still a force to be reckoned with. Despite his struggles, he checks in with an 11-8 record and 3.88 ERA as of Aug. 4. That's not the Verlander we're used to, but it still is a formidable starter.
The puzzling thing about Verlander this year is his inconsistency. Anyone trying to determine how well he'll do in the coming weeks will be stumped when they look at the recent trends. In short, he's been all over the place.
Still, he ranks sixth in the American League in both wins and strikeouts. Granted, he has also allowed the fifth-most walks, but not all is lost. Thanks to the emergence of Max Scherzer and the solid 3-4 of Anibal Sanchez and Doug Fister, they don't need him to be a world beater.
When it comes to the postseason, though, I wouldn't worry about the 6'5" right-hander. Last year, three of his four playoff starts lasted seven or more innings, and he allowed no more than one run in each of them. I'm willing to give him a pass against the San Francisco Giants because, let's face it, the whole team was dismantled.
Ultimately, Verlander may not regain the form of his past few dominant seasons. However, he is only one year removed from being voted the toughest pitcher to face by MLB players. My money is on them still fearing him when they enter the batter's box in October.