Justin Verlander attributed his poor All-Star game performance to his desire to entertain fans with triple-digit readings on the radar gun.
However, on Friday night in Detroit, the reigning American League MVP and Cy Young winner didn't have to dig down deep or sacrifice command to hit the century mark. He was reaching it free and easy from the first inning, all the way to the eighth in the Tigers important 4-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
In fact, it was one of those sizzling eighth inning fastballs that provided all of the jaw-dropping entertainment Verlander was hoping to provide in Kansas City, and it also left Gordon Beckham with a feeling he won't soon forget.
Here's a look at the pitch and result we're talking about:
That's right, Verlander's 116th pitch of the evening was another 100 mph fastball, and it completely sawed off Beckham's bat... on a check-swing.
Not a full swing. Not a going-for-the-fences, swinging-out-of-his-shoes swing. It was a simple check-swing that happened to hit the bat, and in the process destroyed the bat, leaving only the handle in Beckham's hands.
That's something I've never seen before, and it doesn't sound like Verlander has seen anything like it, either.
"A broken bat on a check-swing?" Verlander said. "Not many. If any. I don't know that I have."
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To me that says a lot, because if it's ever going to happen, it's going to take a fastball like Verlander's to get it done. Maybe Tigers' manager Jim Leyland has a recollection of a similar event throughout his long, illustrious baseball career.
'I don't pay much attention to a broken bat, but I do pay attention to the fact that - 99, 100 (mph) in the eighth inning. To be honest with you, I'm kind of used to that, but I was a little concerned, because he exerted himself a little bit more tonight. He was pumped up, and so was Peavy.''
He didn't sound all that impressed, did he? Oh well, I didn't care what he thought anyway.
"That was fun," Verlander added. "It really got me pumped up when the crowd got into it after that."
That's more like it. Spoken like a true adrenaline junkie, which of course Verlander used to then finish off Beckham on three pitches.
Verlander's pitch of choice? A fastball.
Unfortunately for us, though, catcher Alex Avila's choice was a curveball, and that's what Verlander ended up throwing to get the swinging strikeout. But something tells me he could have underhand tossed it from 10 feet at that point and Beckham wasn't going to hit it. That battle was already won.
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