Is it time to panic in Detroit? Maybe not about the whole team — the Royals are hot and the Tigers are not and those things go back and forth all year — but Justin Verlander is definitely giving Tigers fans cause for concern.
Verlander was tagged for seven runs in six innings by the Royals. He allowed only one hit over the first three innings, but as has become custom for the former MVP, things blew up in the middle innings. Here it was the fifth, where he have up four runs on six hits. And it could’ve been worse but for Billy Butler being thrown out at home to end the inning. Verlander gave up three more runs in the sixth. His earned run totals over his past seven starts: 7, 7, 5, 3, 6, 5, 5.
As of now, Verlander’s ERA — 4.98 — is 91st among 99 qualifiers in the majors this year. While, according to the eye-test anyway, Verlander looks normal, something is definitely not right, be it mechanical, physical or mental.
Mets starter Steven Matz helped his own cause again, belting a solo home run in the top of the third inning of Tuesday’s game against the Phillies. Matz turned on a 1-1 breaking ball from Cy Young contender Aaron Nola, breaking a scoreless tie.
Matz also homered in his previous start against the Marlins last Thursday. According to MLB Stat of the Day, he is the third Mets pitcher to homer in back-to-back starts, joining Tom Seaver (1972) and Ron Darling (1989).
Matz is the fourth full-time pitcher to hit multiple home runs this season, joining the Reds’ Michael Lorenzen (four), and the Cardinals’ John Gant and Miles Mikolas (two each). The last Mets pitcher to hit multiple home runs in a season was Noah Syndergaard, who hit three in 2016.
Along with the bat, Matz has also been dealing on the mound. As of this writing, he has held the Phillies scoreless over five innings despite walking five batters and allowing two hits.