Who Hits Justin Verlander? These Guys.
Justin Verlander is good at pitching a baseball. Bet ya didn’t know that.
This year, JV is the leading Cy Young candidate in the minds of most sane people. He’s 15-5 with a microscopic 2.24 ERA in 181 innings pitched. In that time, he’s struck out 178, limited batters to a .186 batting average, and has a WHIP of 0.87.
Rod Allen calls Verlander’s starts “Must See TV”. Many folks have remarked that Verlander has the stuff to throw a no-hitter every time he takes the mound. And Saturday, he looks to add to those impressive numbers against a Kansas City Royals team that in his career he’s 12-2 with a 2.31 ERA in 18 starts.
So the question I was pondering today at work (instead of actually working) was, “Who can hit this guy?”
Well, more than you think. Before the jump, I have a question for you. Do you think there have been more players to have multiple home runs in their career against JV, or more guys to have 10 or more hits?
Well, it’s a trick question. Sorry, I’m a jerk. There have been 20 guys to accomplish each feat against Verlander. Obviously, the lists are AL Central dominated since the Tigers seem to play 150 games a year against the Central, but there are still some surprises on each one. Take a look.
MLB Players With Multiple Career Home Runs vs. Verlander
7: Jim Thome
4: Jermaine Dye
4: Victor Martinez
3: Nick Swisher
3: Carlos Quentin
3: AJ Pierzynski
3: Joe Mauer
2: David Ortiz
2: Kevin Youkilis
2: Adam Dunn
2: Paul Konerko
2: Travis Hafner
2: Grady Sizemore
2: Jason Giambi
2: John Buck
2: Billy Butler
2: Justin Morneau
2: Franklin Gutierrez
2: Adam Lind
2: Ryan Garko
(55 players tied with 1 HR vs. Verlander)
Thome looks to be safe for now. Dye is retired, and now you see the real reason the Tigers acquired V-Mart. Ryan Garko…really?
As for the guys with 10 or more hits, you’ll see some repeated names from the first list. But would you expect the two guys with the most career hits against Verlander to both be catchers?
Players With 10 or More Career Hits vs. Verlander
18: Joe Mauer, 18/48, .375
17: AJ Pierzynski, 17/62, .274
16: Ichiro Suzuki, 16/48, .333
14: Billy Butler, 14/36, .389
14: Jermaine Dye, 14/49, .286
14: Orlando Cabrera, 14/43, .326
13: Victor Martinez, 13/46, .283
13: Jhonny Peralta, 13/54, .241
13: Denard Span, 13/34, .382
13: David DeJesus, 13/43, .302
12: Travis Hafner, 12/42, .286
12: Grady Sizemore, 12/55, .218
12: Torii Hunter, 12/44, .273
12: Jason Kubel, 12/35, .343
11: Jim Thome, 11/46, .239
11: Jose Lopez, 11/38, .289
11: Maicer Izturis, 11/26, .423
11: Michael Cuddyer, 11/50, .220
10: Carlos Quentin, 10/34, .294
10: Jose Vidro, 10/19, .526
(8 players tied with 9 hits vs. Verlander)
(8 players tied with 8 hits vs. Verlander)
Reading that, it now makes sense Izturis would be the one to break up that no-no, huh? And speaking of the no-hitter, for everyone that said that Erick Aybar was right to bunt against JV in the 8th inning, he’s 9/24 (.325) with 2 doubles against Justin. Swing the bat, wuss. (Sorry, still bitter.)
So there you have it. Justin Brooks Verlander is human and can be hit. But before I finish, one more dumb trivia question for you all. Can you name the two guys in MLB history that have career batting averages of a perfect 1.000 against Verlander?
Matt Kata: 1/1 (single)
Ronnie Belliard: 3/3 (2 singles, 1 double)
For some reason, regardless of sample size, I find it amusing that the only guys in baseball that are perfect against the cyborg that is Verlander are a dude in the minors and another guy that’s retired at 36 years old.