Justin Verlander pitched three-hit ball over eight scoreless innings Sunday as the Tigers topped the Orioles 4-0.
It was Verlander’s first start since he gave up five runs in an inning in losing Tuesday’s All-Star Game for the American League.
Verlander struck out eight and walked two. He’s second in the AL with 136 strikeouts, four behind Felix Hernandez. Jose Valverde pitched the final inning today with Verlander at 117 pitches after eight.
Verlander was just 5-4 after 13 outings this season, but now he’s now reeled off five wins in six starts — even though he hasn’t lowered his ERA much in the process — he should be right back among the Cy Young leaders in the AL.
With the win today, Verlander is 7-0 lifetime in 10 career starts against the Orioles.
Phil Hughes was officially designated for assignment by the Twins on Tuesday, the culmination of multiple injury-plagued seasons and poor performance.
Things couldn’t have started out much better for Hughes in Minnesota. The former Yankees hurler joined the Twins on a three-year, $24 million contract in December of 2013 and reeled off a 3.52 ERA over 32 starts during his first season with the club. He set the MLB record (which still stands, by the way) for single season strikeout-to-walk ratio and even received some downballot Cy Young Award consideration. The big year resulted in the two sides ripping up their previous agreement with a new five-year, $58 million deal, but it was all downhill after that.
Hughes took a step back with a 4.40 ERA in 2015 and struggled with a 5.95 ERA over 11 starts and one relief appearance in 2016 before undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He wasn’t any better upon his return last year, putting up a 5.87 ERA in nine starts and five relief appearances. Hughes missed time with a biceps issue and required a thoracic outlet revision surgery in August. He began this year on the disabled list with an oblique injury, only to put up a 6.75 ERA over two starts and five relief appearances before the Twins decided to turn the page this week.
Hughes is still owed the remainder of his $13.2 million salary for this year and another $13.2 million next year. The deal didn’t work out as anyone would have hoped, but unfortunately this is another case of health just not cooperating.