Baseball's best pitcher (and worst hitter) can't wait to hit at GABP
Justin Verlander is 0-for-20 as a major-league hitter, with 13 strikeouts. He's baseball's best pitcher, and he may be baseball's worst hitter. But Verlander is excited about his upcoming June 9 start in Cincinnati, because he knows Great American Ballpark is a bandbox, and he thinks he might hit a home run. Really.
BOSTON -- Justin Verlander is the best pitcher in baseball today. He may be the worst hitter.
He's 0-for-20 in his major-league career, with 13 strikeouts. He has never walked.
And he can't wait to pitch at Cincinnati's Great American Ballpark in a couple of weeks, because he knows it's a bandbox (nine home runs in one game Sunday). He's not worried about pitching there. He can't wait to hit there.
Yeah, Justin Verlander, who doesn't have a major-league hit, is thinking he can hit a home run.
He'll tell you about the ball he hit into the upper deck at Target Field the other day in batting practice. He'll tell you about the work he has done with Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon.
"I've changed my batting stance," Verlander said. "I tweaked it."
If you know Verlander, you know he's serious about all of this. You know that as competitive his personality is, he can't stand the idea that he can't hit.
"To not succeed at anything pisses me off," Verlander admitted. "And not just to not succeed -- to not excel."
He excels on the mound. He's a long, long way from excelling at the plate.
But McClendon agreed Monday that Verlander has improved at the plate.
"He's better," McClendon said. "I'm predicting he gets his first hit."