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Justin Verlander's wit has aged, but his fastball has not



Every jug has two primes: one physical and one mental. The problem is that they rarely fit together. Too often, the wisdom that results from a long career can not be transferred to the truly dynamic talent of youth. The more a pitcher learns, the less he has to use.

Justin Verlander turned 35 in spring training, and he's probably done enough to get a place in the Hall of Fame. But maybe that's the best he's ever done, because his arm is still alive enough to take advantage of his knowledge.

"I'm processing information at a much higher level than ever before in my career," Verlander Montag said after the Yankees were suffocated by a 5-1

win for the Houston Astros for six and two-thirds innings.

"And it's not like analytical information, just processing information while I'm on the hill – seeing the bigger picture I go with my belly, see everything and perform positions on an extremely high level." It's not that Best stuff I've ever had in my career, but it's the best pitching I've ever had. "

The stuff, Verlander admitted, is" close enough "to look like his best season , with the Detroit Tigers in 2011, when he won the American League Cy Young and Most Valuable Player Awards. Catcher Brian McCann describes him as complimenting a point guard or a quarterback: he sees everything.

"It's his awareness of every situation," McCann said. "It just seems like he's three steps ahead of everyone else."

Verlander is 7-2 with a deserved average of 1.11 by 12 starts and opponents beat 0.153 against him. He throws much more sliders than before, fewer changes and about as many corner balls. But this famous mad fastball – staying through the top of the zone for weak pop-ups, harmless fly-balls and helpless, empty swings – is still elite.

"I would say he has the best four-seamer in the game," said teammate Charlie Morton. "He has a good idea of ​​what you want to do, and if you watch from the side and you see that it's hard for the boys to get the ball in or play the ball, it's like the side squares just icing cake. "


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