Justin Verlander has his best start in two years

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Just when everyone was starting to write him off — or, at the very least, write him off until he made some adjustments — Justin Verlander came out this afternoon and posted his best start since 2013, tossing eight innings of one-run ball and striking out 10 in the Tigers 2-1 win against the Rays.

He needed to be that good, though, given that Chris Archer nearly matched him. Indeed, Archer retired the first 19 batters he faced before allowing a Jose Iglesias infield single. A fielder’s choice and a couple of singles later and the Tigers had their two. Which would stand for the game.

Apart from allowing a homer to Asdrubal Cabrera, Verlander was masterful. It was his first double-digit strikeout game with no walks for since Sept. 24, 2010. It was his first double-digit strikeout game period since September 2013. More importantly, he was changing speeds, using his breaking ball as an out pitch when, just a couple of weeks ago, he seemed overly-reliant on his heat.

This was Verlander’s second straight eight inning, one-run start, the last being on Friday against Boston.

Seems Verlander is finally coming around.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.