Already perhaps done anyway, Justin Verlander’s streak of 63 straight starts of at least six innings came to an end Tuesday when the Tigers-Red Sox game was delayed by rain and then called in the top of the sixth.
Ironically, Verlander got a complete game for his effort in the 4-1 loss to Boston.
Verlander was off right from the start, but he escaped with a scoreless first after throwing 35 pitches in the frame. The Red Sox got to him for all four runs in the fourth, a frame in which he even walked in a run. The Tigers had a reliever up in the pen in the fourth, and given that he was at 107 pitches after five, he really shouldn’t have come back out for the sixth anyway.
Verlander’s previous start of less than six innings took place on Aug. 17, 2010, when he gave up three runs in five innings and walked five in a loss to the Yankees. His streak of six-plus innings start was the third longest during the expansion era, trailing only Bob Gibson (78) and Steve Carlton (69). The next longest streak since 2000 belonged to Mark Buehrle, with 49 straight for the White Sox in 2004-05.
Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.
LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.
There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.
The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.