If you want to pitch deep into games, be better than the relievers behind you. In other words, be Justin Verlander.

Yet consider this: Verlander threw 124 pitches in that postseason complete game. He didn’t reach 100 pitches in any of his five other playoff outings. He got to seven innings just one other time. And he still threw three more innings than any other postseason Cheap Bike Jerseys For Men pitcher, with the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw coming in second.

I love being a pitcher, future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander told ESPN.com during spring training. When I first started playing baseball, I always envisioned myself as a pitcher. I idolized Nolan Ryan, that old-school grit. Being a fan of pitchers, I did appreciate [a great duel].

Verlander has reached the 200-inning threshold ten times, one more than James Shields of the White Sox for the most among active pitchers. The all-time leader in that category is Don Sutton, still working in baseball as an announcer for the Braves. He had 20 200-inning seasons.

I think I was fortunate, Verlander said. With a manager who had some old-school tendencies. To be the manager he was, he blended them with new-school techniques, but still, down in the gut, he went with his instincts.

Stick a pin in that comment, because there’s an emerging theme.

During the postseason last year, Verlander was a marvel while becoming the new prototype of a finishing piece — the final ingredient to the Astros’ championship recipe. He led all pitchers in the postseason with 36⅔ innings, including a crucial 2⅔-inning outing in relief. He had a complete game, beating Cheap Custom Hockey Jerseys the Yankees in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series with 13 strikeouts.

This was hardly surprising. Verlander long ago forged a reputation for his ability to work deep into games by managing his workloads early in contests. This ability allowed him to gather steam as games progressed, and often, his top velocity readings would surface during the latter portion of his starts.


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