Justin Verlander's No-Hitter: Are Pitchers Taking Over MLB?

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Justin Verlander's No-Hitter: Are Pitchers Taking Over MLB?
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Verlander's no-hitter has led some to compare this season's two no-hitters in a week to the likes of last seasons five no-nos.

The 2010 Major League Baseball season was coined as the "Year of the Pitcher," but after two no-hitters in a week, will 2011 be the same? Or are pitchers just taking over the MLB?

This time, Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander shut down the Toronto Blue Jays, allowing just one walk over nine innings. With his second no-hitter since 2007, Verlander has developed into one of baseball's top pitchers.

The 2010 MLB season contained five no-hitters, including two perfect games, and after 2011's two no-hitters thus far, Major League Baseball may experience one the greatest two-year runs in pitching.

In contrast with the League from the mid-'90s through 2000s, where hitting the home run was supreme (mostly due to a wide usage of illegal, performance-enhancing drugs, but that is another story), baseball has no changed its appearance into a lower-scoring, pitching-heavy league.

But, writers, analysts and fans should start changing the name attributed to the season of 2010, because pitching is now making its recovery to the most dominating facet of the game.

The talent level of the pitching in Major League Baseball isn't going anywhere.

With the exception of the handling of last year's pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg by the Washington Nationals, Major League Baseball clubs have begun to take more pride and more importantly time in developing their pitching before they approach the big leagues.

Brian Bahr/Getty Images
In 2003, Mark Prior had one of the brightest futures in the league, but after being placed on the DL nine times in five years, his career has been derailed completely.

In 2003, Mark Prior of the Chicago Cubs was 22 years old and had been pitching in the Majors for just one season. He was an outstanding 18-6 before he was injured in September. And he was never the same after that.

During the next five seasons, Prior was on the disabled list an unfortunate nine times. His talent seemingly went by the wayside after he was rushed, in some respects, by the Chicago Cubs into the majors at just 21 years old.

By contrast, the Tampa Bay Rays drafted David Price with the first overall pick in the 2007 MLB Draft. He was called up to the major leagues and made some appearances for the Rays during the 2008 MLB Playoffs out of the bullpen. The next season, Price was expected to be one of the top players in the league, but the Rays conservatively held Price in the minors through the first month of the season.

Without rushing him to the big leagues too soon, the Rays and Price reaped the benefits in 2010. During the season, Price won 19 games for the Rays as they made the American League playoffs.

As both Verlander and the Minnesota Twins' Francisco Liriano have tossed no-hitters already this season, what was once thought as a fad in Major League Baseball has now become a reality.

Like the first decade of the 21st century was highlighted by exceptional hitting, the century's second decade will be known as one where pitching excelled yet again.

So, instead of calling every season the "Year of the Pitcher," save your breath and just realize this: Pitching is back at the pinnacle of Major League Baseball, and it is here to stay.

Josh Rosenblat is a high school student from Chicago looking to find a way to break into sports journalism. He often writes about the NBA (primarily the Chicago Bulls), as well as the MLB, College Basketball, and the NFL. You can email him at joshua.m.rosenblat@gmail.com or follow him on twitter @JMRosenblat. Feel free to send him comments.

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