By: Terry Foster

Tiger pitcher Justin Verlander is the best pitcher in baseball; however he has not been the best pitcher for the first half of the 2012 American League season.

That is why he should not be the starting pitcher Tuesday when the American League takes on the Nationals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. If this is about numbers, and baseball people always say it is about the numbers, the Verlander should not start. If this is about popularity and endorsements, which baseball people keep telling you it is not, then Verlander should start.

Verlander has been terrific and has been a part of the Tigers surge the past week. However, he’s been the third best pitcher the first half of the season.

Jared Weaver has been better. He is 10-1 with a 1.96 earned run average and 0.90 WHIP which is average base runners per inning. Chicago White Sox pitcher Chris Sales is 10-2 with a 2.19 earned run average and 0.95 WHIP. Verlander’s numbers do not match up. He is 9-5 with a 2.58 earned run average and 0.95 WHIP.

Yes, he has been the victim of bad luck and bad fielding. But he has also struggled a little bit more than the other guys.

This is also not a case of good pitchers putting up fake numbers on bad teams. The Angels (48-38) and the White Sox (47-38) are better than the Tigers.

I’d love to hear compelling reasons why Verlander should be the starter outside of him being JV and he pitches for the Tigers?


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