Signs of hope for Verlander

The former MVP is having a down year, but is showing signs of his ace form

Updated: September 7, 2013, 11:03 AM ET
By Eno Sarris | ESPN Insider

Justin VerlanderAP Photo/Kathy WillensIf Tigers starter Justin Verlander can reclaim a little bit of his lost velocity, watch out.

He's in the top 20 in strikeout rate. He's in the top 15 in FanGraphs' wins above replacement. He's in the top 10 in the American League in wins.

And we want to know why he's struggling. Because he's Justin Verlander.

Verlander hasn't had an ERA (3.59) this high since 2008, is walking a full batter per nine innings more than last year, and has given up more than five runs in a start six times this year. He did that half as many times last season.

[+] EnlargeJustin Verlander (release points 2012)
FanGraphsRelease points are from catcher's perspective; distances are relative to center of rubber/ground.

It's fair to conclude that something just isn't quite right with the 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner in 2013. At least that's what it looks like. The good news for Detroit is Verlander has started to look like his former self of late.