Verlander joins list of Tiger pitchers to start the All-Star Game

Tiger ace Justin Verlander becomes the 7th Detroit pitcher to start the All-Star Game.

Better late than never.

Last season, Justin Verlander should have started the All-Star Game for the American League, without a doubt. The Detroit Tigers right-hander was in the midst of a dominating season last July when Major League Baseball took its annual three-day break. But since he had started the Sunday prior to the break, Verlander was not eligible to start the game. This time, his schedule lined up perfectly, and Texas manager Ron Washington did the correct thing by choosing the reigning MVP and Cy Young to take the hill.

For Tigers fans it’s validation that their ace is at the top of the list among hurlers in the game today. Sure, JV won’t take home hardware every season, and he can’t win 24 games every year, and even he can’t hurl a no-hitter all the time, but right now he’s clearly the best pitcher in baseball. Bar none.

Other pitchers might have stretches of brilliance (R.A. Dickey and Yu Darvish); some very good pitchers might toss no-hitters (Jared Weaver), but Verlander stands above the rest because he has the best stuff, he’s as competitive as anyone in the game, and he’s capable of tossing a shutout each time he goes out there. His stretch of starts where he’s gone at least six innings has now reached 60, the longest streak since 1976 and the fourth longest in baseball history. When he takes the ball, Verlander doesn’t need much help – the bullpen can put their feet up.

The last Tiger hurler to start the All-Star Game was Kenny Rogers in 2006. Verlander becomes the seventh Tiger pitcher to get the nod for the Midsummer Classic. Two of the greatest pitchers in franchise history: Hall of Famer Jim Bunning and Jack Morris, each started the game more than once.

Tiger pitchers started the All-Star Game
Justin Verlander (2012)
Kenny Rogers (2006)
Jack Morris (1985)
Jack Morris (1981)
Mark Fidrych (1976)
Denny McLain (1966)
Jim Bunning (1962)
Jim Bunning (1961)
Jim Bunning (1957)
Hal Newhouser (1947)