Much has been written about Justin Verlander’s struggles this season. He’s undoubtedly hurt – if not outright killed – fantasy title hopes for a ton of people. Glass half full, though. Over his last two starts, he’s looked a little more like the Verlander we all know and love. In those 13 innings – a measly sample, but we’re being positive! – he’s struck out sixteen batters while walking two.
The small sample size caveat applies, a ton, but perhaps Verlander is closer to being back. He thinks he is:
After giving up seven runs to Kansas City on June 16, Verlander sat down with manager Brad Ausmus and pitching coach Jeff Jones to pour over film, new and old. They saw that the right-hander was moving laterally in a way that needed to be changed. They wanted him to move more toward home plate. Verlander said it was the biggest midseason change he’s undergone.
Ausmus said pitcher’s often make changes of this nature during the offseason. Verlander is no common pitcher, however.
“I felt like this was something we have to do to get him back to where he was,” Ausmus said. “As pitchers get older and more mature, they have to make adjustments because, physically, they’re going to change.”
So between starts, Verlander has been throwing 25-30 pitches in an extra bullpen session. The more he does it in practice, the less he has to think about doing it during a game.
“It’s probably more strenuous than I would like it to be,” Verlander said. “I’m the kind of person that wants to get out there and repeat it, repeat it, repeat it until the muscle memory kicks in.”
We’ll see if his good work continues tonight versus a very potent Oakland lineup.
Tonight we have some of our usual suspects: Vidal Nuno, Chris Tillman, John Danks, Kevin Correia, and J.A. Happ. You could also make cases for targeting: Tom Koehler, Travis Wood, Brad Peacock, and Chris Young, if you wanted to.
Personally, I’m partial towards targeting Peacock, Danks, Tepesch, and Matzek. I used the Nationals yesterday, and I’m not very opposed to using basically the same lineup today. The Angels are a terrible matchup for Danks. Ditto for Peacock versus Seattle, considering the amount of left handed bats they have. [Sidebar: Since May 25, Brad Miller is slashing .284/.349/.474, good for a .358 wOBA.]
The Daily Five
Miguel Cabrera – $7,557
Much like Andrew McCutchen yesterday, any time Cabrera is under $8,000, find a way to get him into your lineup.
Tyson Ross – $15,305
Unfortunately, choosing a San Diego pitcher nearly puts you in a hole off the bat, considering the team rarely wins – thanks to its paltry, bad offense. Nonetheless, Ross’ strikeout potential and the fact that he’s pitching at home should make it worthwhile.
Trout is expensive, but Cron’s lower price tag helps offset that a little. And honestly, Trout’s been so good, who cares what he costs? IT isn’t really a true stack, because chances are Cron will be a little down in the order. He’s only included because of his power potential. If you want a fourth option, or someone closer to Trout and Pujols, saddle up Kole Calhoun.
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Landon is a senior writer at The Fantasy Fix. You can follow and interact with him on Twitter (@joneslandon).