Justin Verlander pitched the second no-hitter of the 2011 season and his second career no-hitter Saturday in a 9-0 win over the Blue Jays.
Verlander had a perfect game going until catcher J. P. Arencibia worked a walk on an exquisite 12-pitch at-bat with one out in the eighth. Arencibia, who barely missed a double down the left-field line earlier in his at-bat, was promptly erased on a double-play ball from Edwin Encarnacion, and Verlander went on to make it look easy in the ninth, getting a popup from David Cooper, a soft groundout from John McDonald and then a strikeout of Rajai Davis to end it.
Oddly enough, Verlander, who was tied for second in the AL with 51 strikeouts entering the day, fanned just four in the game. Francisco Liriano had only two strikeouts in his no-hitter earlier this week. Prior to that, every no-hitter thrown since Dwight Gooden’s on May 14, 1996 had featured at least six strikeouts.
Verlander’s previous no-hitter came against the Brewers in interleague play on June 12, 2007. He joins Mark Buehrle and Roy Halladay as the only active pitchers with multiple no-hitters. Halladay’s second no-hitter came in the postseason last year.
The no-hitter was the seventh in Tigers history. The last Tiger besides Verlander to throw one was Jack Morris on April 7, 1984.
I would hope by now that I no longer have to preface All-Star talk with my usual “none of this matters” disclaimers, but please keep all of that in mind when I mention that Nick Markakis is leading all National League outfielders in All-Star voting.
Markakis, with 1,173,653 votes, has surpassed the slumping Bryce Harper in that category. Harper has 1,002,696 votes. The third place outfielder is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 925,697. Fourth place — Charlie Blackmon of the Dodgers — is like 300,000 votes back of Kemp.Yes, Markakis, Harper and Kemp may be the starting NL outfield. Brandon Nimmo — not on the ballot — should be grumpy, but he’ll get his chance I’m sure.
The thing about it: Markakis, for as unexpected as his appearance may be on this list, deserves to at least be in the top three. He’s second in WAR among National League outfielders behind Lorenzo Cain. He’s slowed down a good bit in June and he’s coming off of a 2017 season in which he had a 96 OPS+ and 0.7 WAR, but he’s having quite an outstanding season. I write that mostly so that there is a record of it come October and we’ve all forgotten it.
Seriously, though, good for Markakis, who has never made an All-Star Game. Good for Kemp too for that matter, who most people assumed was a walking — well, limping — corpse heading into this season. Good for Harper because anything that can keep up the guise of him having a good year when, in reality, he’s really not, will help his confidence as he heads into free agency.
Finally, good for the American League, who will likely get to face a far, far inferior National League team next month in Washington.
The rest of the voting: