Tigers ace Justin Verlander did a number of impressive things over the course of his nine-inning no-hitter Saturday in Toronto. He threw 74 of his 108 pitches for strikes, induced 12 groundball outs, and issued just one walk to the 27 batters that he faced.
But the most impressive feat of the historical outing was a 100 mph fastball that Verlander delivered to final batter Rajai Davis with two outs in the ninth inning. It was his 106th pitch and the third-to-last offering of the afternoon. Davis fouled it off before whiffing on a slider two pitches later.
It wasn’t the only time Verlander was caught pushing the radar gun to its limit. According to MLB.com’s Gameday application, which uses the trustworthy Pitch-F/x system, the right-hander from Richmond, Virginia also hit 100 mph in the seventh and eighth innings. He topped out at 101 mph.
Possessing triple-digit velocity isn’t necessary for big league domination. Francisco Liriano is averaging 92.1 mph on his fastball this season and he threw a no-no just a handful of days ago. Mark Buehrle, who rarely tops 88 mph, threw one in July of 2009 and April of 2007. But that 100 mph fastball that Verlander delivered today with the Rogers Centre crowd wavering on who to root for is an indication of the kind of arm strength and clean mechanics that go along with being one of the most lethal pitchers in the game.
Verlander is one of three active pitchers with multiple no-hitters. The others: Buehrle and Roy Halladay.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred wants Tampa Bay to work a little quicker on getting the Rays a new ballpark.
Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg has been working for nearly a decade to get a new stadium for the club and signed a three-year agreement with the City of St. Petersburg early in 2016 to search for a site in the Tampa Bay area. Manfred wants that search to pick up some steam.
“I think it’s fair to say we want the process to take on a better pace moving forward,” Manfred said Wednesday night at Tropicana Field, home of the Rays since their first season in 1998.
The Rays were averaging 15,815 fans per game before Wednesday night’s contest against the Toronto Blue Jays. That is just over half the major league average of 30,470. Tropicana Field and its location have been almost universally blamed as the reason for the poor attendance.
“I’ve been pretty clear that they need a new facility here, a major league quality facility in an A-plus location,” Manfred said. “It is time to move that decision to the front burner here in Tampa.”
The matter of how a stadium would be financed has been tabled until a site is determined, but Sternberg continued to express confidence in the Tampa Bay market.
“I’ve had the opportunity to bail on it many times over the years,” he said. “I won’t say this is a slam dunk, it’s certainly not. But I think we can do something that’ll at least double our attendance. That’s a lot to ask for.”
Manfred said Major League Baseball “doesn’t have a firm timetable” for what steps to take if the Rays fail to get an agreement to build a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, but but added that “it is a topic of discussion in the industry, the lack of progress.”
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Bad news for the Mariners this evening: Robinson Cano left Seattle’s game against the Atlanta Braves with tightness in his left hamstring.
Cano walked off the field after legging out a double — his second of the game — in the third inning. He pulled up as he approached second base and walked off the field, accompanied by a trainer. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury. The Mariners have a day off Thursday before opening a series at the Yankees on Friday night, so they have some time to evaluate him.
Cano is hitting .277/.377/.460 with 19 homers and 78 RBI on the year.