Notes and quotes on Verlander’s Game 5 shutout
How rare was Justin Verlander’s complete-game four-hit shutout in a win-or-go-home Game 5 to close out an AL Division Series? Here are a few facts and figures to help figure that out:
- Only one Major League pitcher in the last 20 years has tossed a complete-game shutout in a do-or-die game to close out a postseason series. That was Chris Carpenter, who did it for the Cardinals last year. The last American League pitcher to do it under those circumstances was Jack Morris, who tossed 10 scoreless innings in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.
- Verlander’s 11 strikeouts ties the highest total ever in a win-or-go-home type game in the postseason. a mark Cliff Lee set two years ago in Game 5 of the Rangers-Rays ALDS.
- If you go by Bill James’ formula for Game Score, adding points for innings pitched and strikeouts while subtracting for hits, walks and runs allowed, Verlander barely tops Sandy Koufax’s shutout in Game 7 of the 1965 World Series for highest Game Score in a win-or-go-home game, 89 to 88 according to baseball-reference.com.
Now for the quotes …
- Tigers catcher Alex Avila: “This goes right up there with his no-hitters for sure. It pushes us into the ALCS. To do it against a team like that in a pretty hostile environment, he was in his own world out there and really just kind of put us on his back there.”
- Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder: “I can’t put my finger on it. I’d say maybe the fourth inning I thought, ‘All right. He hasn’t thrown 100 yet but he’s still got it.’ Whenever he doesn’t have to throw as hard and they still can’t touch it, it’s all right. We have a good shot.”
- Avila: “He wanted to obviously have the velocity on his fastball, but also being able to locate with it, wanting to throw quality strikes. The first start against them, you could tell he was trying to amp it up early on and was missing early on. Tonight he was able to stay in that mid-90s and really concentrate on the corners and locate with his fastball, which set everything up.”
- Tigers second baseman Omar Infante: “When we have Verlander, the way he pitched, it’s unbelievable. That’s why we win.”
- A’s manager Bob Melvin: “But when Verlander gets on a roll like he was today, especially once he gets into his rhythm, you get into the middle innings and he’s rolling along pretty good, it’s tough to stop him. It’s like a locomotive going at a high speed. He was tough to deal with.”
- Tigers manager Jim Leyland: “I think he’s a pretty good matchup for anybody when he is right. He had that look in his eyes today. He was determined. He had a complete game look in his eye. And we were thankful to get that. And we got some big hits.”