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Verlander unanimously wins Cy Young; is MVP next?
In many games, he was simply unhittable. He pitched a no-hitter on May 7 at Toronto, missing a perfect game just by an eighth-inning walk on a full-count delivery.
In his next start, he held Kansas City hitless for 5 2-3 innings. Johnny Vander Meer is the only pitcher to throw back-to-back no-hitters.
Later in the season, the 6-foot-5 star took a pair of no-hit bids into the eighth inning _ one of those came on July 31 against Weaver and the Angels, a 3-2 win at Detroit.
“I felt like it was a statement game,” Verlander said. “A lot of people had eyes on that game.”
Verlander also led the majors with 251 innings, all while issuing a career-low 57 walks. He pitched four complete games, including two shutouts.
This was the ninth time there was a unanimous winner of the AL Cy Young and first since Johan Santana in 2006, when he won the AL pitching Triple Crown. Verlander said he remembered watching Santana that year.
“That’s a big league pitcher,” Verlander recalled telling himself. “That’s a stud.”
This was the fourth time a Detroit pitcher won it, with Denny McLain earning the award in 1968 and tying for the honor in 1969, and reliever Willie Hernandez winning in 1984. McLain, in 1968, and Hernandez went on to win the AL MVP awards, too.
A four-time All-Star, Verlander became the first former AL Rookie of the Year to also take the Cy Young. This win included a $500,000 bonus to his $12.75 million salary in 2011.
Verlander said he started his push this year in spring training. He’d gotten off to bad starts in previous seasons and decided to be “results oriented” beginning in exhibition games.
Verlander has started his offseason workout program, and plans to wait until January before throwing again. He went to the New England Patriots-New York Jets game Sunday night with teammate Rick Porcello and said a football was being passed around, but he avoided the temptation to toss it.
The only thing missing from Verlander’s pitching resume is a World Series title. He is 3-3 with a 5.57 ERA in eight career postseason starts, and went 2-1 in the playoffs this year as the Tigers reached the AL championship series before losing to Texas.
He probably wouldn’t mind a hit, either. He’s 0 for 20 with 13 strikeouts in his big league career. He also tied for the AL lead in errors by a pitcher with five.
By John R. Bolton
The president fiddles at his domestic altar while the world burns
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