By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT – It looks like Justin Verlander is back on track.
It took almost half a season and some old reruns of his earlier pitching days, but the Detroit Tigers star told ESPN Radio Monday that he thinks he has identified the issue that has messed with his fastball command and kept him from going deep in games this season.
“It’s been a battle for me personally this year, mechanics-wise, to just be able to repeat my delivery like I have in the past,” Verlander said, “but everything’s healthy. I think I found something in my last bullpen session … before my last start.
“My shoulder angle when I deliver is way too angled,” Verlander continued, “so I think that led to me being too inconsistent trying to deliver the ball, especially with my fastball command, and that’s kind of [what] the root of all my problems have been this year.”
Through his first 16 starts, Verlander went five innings or fewer on six occasions. In 2012, he went five innings or fewer just once all season.
Over his first 16 starts in 2012, Verlander lasted eight innings or more eight times. In 2013 he had not done it once – or least he had not until Sunday.
“I keep working to try to get [it] right, where it needs to be,” Verlander said. “Nobody can put more pressure on me than I do. I expect to be great every time I go out there, and if I’m not I’m going to fix it, and I’m going to find out what’s wrong.”
If Verlander’s eight-inning, two-run outing Sunday was any indication, it looks like he already has.