x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Justin Verlander missed the bus on the big stage

He was a dominant against Oakland and the New York Yankees in the play-offs. Now questions are creeping back in about his World Series record.

Justin Verlander watches from the dugout as the Tigers take on San Francisco Giants.
Justin Verlander watches from the dugout as the Tigers take on San Francisco Giants.

Justin Verlander shrugged off the question during a pre-World Series press conference. But rest assured, if the Detroit Tigers ace could go back to the All-Star game in Kansas City and pitch again, he would take the assignment more seriously.

Verlander joked with teammates back in July about trying to hit triple-digits with his fastball, and the result was wildness.

He walked back-to-back batters in the first inning and gave up five runs in an 8-0 loss that cost the American League home-field advantage in the World Series. The big blow that night was the three-run triple he gave up to the San Francisco third baseman Pablo Sandoval.

Talk about nightmares coming back to haunt. There Verlander was Wednesday night, pitching the first game of the World Series at San Francisco's AT&T Park, giving up two home runs to Sandoval in an 8-3 loss. Verlander lasted only four innings, surrendering five runs.

He was a dominant 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA in three starts against Oakland and the New York Yankees in the first two rounds of the play-offs. Now questions are creeping back in about his World Series record.

Verlander lost both his starts to St Louis in 2006 as a 23-year-old rookie. After the Giants battered him, he is 0-3 with a 5.14 ERA in three World Series starts.

The odds are stacked against the Tigers now, who are trying to become the first team since the 1996 Yankees to rally from a 0-2 deficit and win the best-of-seven World Series.

Verlander is scheduled to pitch again in the fifth game of the series, in Detroit. He just has to hope the series gets that far.

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