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Justin Verlander has thrown 100+ pitches in 40 straight starts

Jul 22, 2011, 11:51 AM EDT

Justin Verlander Getty Images

Justin Verlander shut down the Twins last night, holding Minnesota to one run in eight innings while improving to 13-5 with a 2.24 ERA.

He also threw 126 pitches, which would be a noteworthy workload for just about anyone but Verlander, as he’s thrown at least 125 pitches five times this season and has yet to throw fewer than 100 pitches in a start this season.

In fact, as Brandon Warne of Fan Graphs points out Verlander has now thrown at least 100 pitches in 40 consecutive starts dating back to the middle of last season.

Pitch count data is only available going back a couple decades, but Verlander’s streak of 40 straight 100-pitch outings is the most of any pitcher during that time. Via the always amazing Baseball-Reference.com Play Index here’s the leaderboard for consecutive 100-pitch starts since 1988:

JUSTIN VERLANDER         2010-2011     40
Randy Johnson            1998-1999     38
Randy Johnson            1992-1993     37
Felix Hernandez          2009-2010     32
Randy Johnson            1999-2000     30
Carlos Zambrano          2005-2006     30

At the risk of taking attention away from Verlander’s remarkable feat: Randy Johnson was ridiculous.

Last time Verlander failed to throw at least 100 pitches was June 22 of last season, when the Mets chased him from the game after two innings. And before that he’d gone 12 straight starts with 100-plus pitches, so Verlander has now thrown at least 100 pitches in 52 of his last 53 outings, during which time he’s 31-14 with a 2.73 ERA and 372 strikeouts in 379 innings.

  1. yankeesgameday - Jul 22, 2011 at 11:59 AM

    Verlander is one of the biggest studs in the game. Even as a Yankee fan I love to watch him pitch. His opening day start against cc in 30 degree weather was gutsy as hell.

    I mocked the package the Rockies were asking from the Yanks for Ubaldo Jiminez, but I would give up all those players and maybe mote for Justin Verlander to pitch for the Yanks.

    • Detroit Michael - Jul 22, 2011 at 3:35 PM

      It should be possible, if you try hard, to appreciate a player without imagining how you can get him on the Yankees roster.

      • jeffrp - Jul 22, 2011 at 4:57 PM

        “I love that guy and would trade half the farm system to have him play for my team” is a pretty standard compliment no matter who he roots for.

      • yankeesgameday - Jul 22, 2011 at 5:28 PM

        Yeah, like jeffrp said, it’s just a way to pay a compliment. No need to go all small market inferiority complex on me. Verlander rocks. Nuff said.

  2. pierce32andy - Jul 22, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    It’s a shame it has taken ESPN and major outlets this long to finally put verlander up with roy and cc.

  3. cintiphil - Jul 22, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    This should lay to rest once and for all, the notion that Baker ruined Wood and Prior, because he made them pitch too long. My position all along has been that pitchers today are not conditioning their arms well enough to pitch in the bigs. Obviously, Verlander is either from the old school of arm and upper body conditioning & strength, or he just has indestructable DNA.

    • Kevin S. - Jul 22, 2011 at 1:36 PM

      No, it shouldn’t. Verlander was built up to that level. Dusty just threw Wood and Prior to the wolves, and would often leave them in nonsensical situations, or have them pitch through multiple high-stress, high-pitch innings. 115 pitches for a complete game likely isn’t a big deal. 115 pitches for six innings probably qualifies for abuse.

  4. iranuke - Jul 22, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    The thing that I find most interesting is that he has had 40 straight starts without a clunker where he got pulled early for just not pitching well. This is outstanding consistency.

    • cintiphil - Jul 23, 2011 at 2:41 PM

      And, excellent conditioning. He was able to withstand the extra stress of pitching a lot of innings, even when he didn’t have his best stuff. This is not popular with the Chicago faithful, but it happens to be true. Stop blaming Dusty Baker for the weak arms of your star pitchers. Many of us in Cinti don’t care for him as a manager either, but he is not to blame for the headaches and dizziness of Bruce or the shoulder injury of Rolen, or the arm of Homer Bailey who had to have surgery. Homer is throwing well now, even though he had to rehab twice this season. Why didn’t his arm go bad?

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