Justin Verlander is not the ace of the Tigers right now.
He scuffles and throws way too many pitches. He gives up too many hits, home runs and walks. If the playoffs were to begin today he would not be my opening game pitcher. If the Tigers somehow got into a play in game or the one-game playoff then Max Scherzer would be my guy in that do or die game.
I wonder if Manager Jim Leyland feels the same. It will be interesting to see what Leyland does if things remain the same. He is a guy that is reluctant to change. He views Verlander as the ace based on past performance.
A part of me does not blame him. However, Verlander is way to inconsistent this season. Maybe he is just having an off year, which happens. He’s got pressure on him and a lot of innings on the arm the past two seasons. He is in a temporary holding pattern.
It does not mean he is not good. It simply means he is not great. There are people that still say they would pitch him in a big spot. He remains their guy. But he has given up five or more runs to the Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians. He has give up 10 hits or more six times.
The bottom line is this. Do you trust him in a big spot?