SAN FRANCISCO – Justin Verlander pawed at the mound with his feet during warmups, looked flabbergasted when his pitching coach came out for a visit and appeared out of sorts from the start. Once again, nothing went right for the Detroit Tigers ace in the World Series.
Verlander allowed two of Pablo Sandoval’s record-tying three home runs, an RBI single to fellow pitcher Barry Zito and failed to make it past the fourth inning in an 8-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night.
“I know I was a little bit out of synch,” said Verlander, who had seven days in between starts. “Whether that was the layoff or just being out of synch, you can’t expect to be perfect every time out.”
With two no-hitters, a Cy Young Award and an MVP to his credit, Verlander has been nearly perfect the past two seasons.
But all that success built on a fastball that hits triple digits hasn’t translated on the big stage of the World Series.
Verlander struggled in two starts as a rookie against St. Louis in 2006 and was even worse against the Giants this time, falling to 0-3 with a 5.14 ERA in the Fall Classic.
“His fastball command was not good, he got out of synch, he got on fast forward, said Detroit manager Jim Leyland. “He just did not pitch well tonight, it’s that simple.”