It's unbelievable the way my teammate, Justin Verlander, goes about his business. He is one of the best in the business right now. I've never seen a guy who has 120 pitches under his belt in the eighth inning and comes at you with a 100-mph fastball. That should tell you something for sure.
Justin's success on the mound, in my opinion, is as much a tribute to his physical preparation as it is a tribute to his mental preparation. Physically, he is in great shape. But also he has a plan, and he has the ability to adapt to any situation.
When I've faced Justin in the past as an opposing batter, my hope was that he was going to make a mistake. My best chance to get a hit was to take advantage of a mistake. That is, of course, if he made a mistake. You just have to get a good swing down and hope you hit it. He won't give you that many pitches to hit, so you better take advantage of the ones that come close.
When you look at his repertoire, I don't know if he has one "best" pitch. All his pitches are great. His fastball and curveball wreak havoc.
He has thrown two no-hitters in his career, and I think his stuff is so good I almost expect him to throw a no-hitter every time out there. He's just one of those guys who has special stuff -- that special thing that makes him an elite pitcher. He goes into games expecting not to give up a hit, and I feel that it shows. He wants to go out there and dominate.
Justin can throw you any pitch at any time for a strike, and as a catcher that is great. Again, it's great for a catcher but not so great for the opposing hitters.
Along with this great stuff one of the things that I admire about Justin is that he is such a true competitor. He steps on the mound with one goal -- to get hitters out. It's hard to knock him out of a game.
He reminds me a lot of CC Sabathia, especially the year I caught CC in Cleveland when he won the Cy Young Award. They aren't exactly the same, but they are top-notch power pitchers. They are both true competitors, and they can both take control of a game whenever they want.
Veteran catcher Victor Martinez joined the Tigers this past offseason when he signed a free-agent contract. He has 97 RBIs year, and if he reaches 100 it would mark the fourth time in his career. Tigers ace Justin Verlander is 24-5 with a 2.29 ERA and is a strong contender for this year's American League Cy Young Award.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.