Sorry this diary is late, I meant to post after the game. I watched the game Tigers vs Astros when these two headed off. I was looking forward to seeing how Buchholz would look as well as Verlander. Buchholz was once thought of as Verlander is now.
I looked into what each pitcher had been doing prior to the matchup and knew it would not be an A vs C prospect battle. Both players have fought and looked to have won the 5th starter battle for the 06 season.
Verlander: IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Verlander 5.0 5 3 3 5 4 1 3.38
He used a 4 and 2 seam fastball, change, and knuckle-curve. He worked off of his fastball that I saw form 94-98 and hit 99 two times(avg about 96). When he made it over he was working very good and when he missed he had a good amount of trouble. He worked at a fast pace, and was purposely slowed by the catcher a few times.
His second pitch is a change that dropped good and is at least league avg. IMO he should have used it more. His breaker had decent movement, but was nowhere near the zone and caused more problems than good. The 2 seam only came out a few times and he used it to really get in on righthanders. I don't think he even meant for it to be strikes.
It was an up and down outing for Verlander. He looked really good against some batters and irratic at other times. It was solely based on throwing his fastball for strikes. I think if he tries to throw all of his pitches for strikes he can do well this year. It looked like he was trying to create K's or bad swing. If he uses his stuff then both of those things will happen on their own.
Buchholz: IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Buchholz 6.0 2 0 0 1 5 0 1.96
He used a fastball, curve, change, and slider. He was as strong as he has been in two years(91-94 with avg 92.5). It looked like he cut and sunk the fastball at different times with little movement at 91 and threw his straight fastball at 93-94. It was good for strikes the whole game and set up his other pitches. Most of his strikeouts came from the fastball.
His curve is one of the best. He threw it for strikes the whole game as well. He threw it in any count and used it for strikes and only burried one or two to try to get K's. It is his best pitch and way ahead of his other secondary pitches. His change is straight and only change of speed. He used it against lefties and just threw it over. The slider is a working pitch. He only threw a few and they did not break hard. He tried to break a little off the corner, but it not being great no one chased.
He did what he has to do to be successful. He got up in the count and used his fastball and curve to keep them off-balance. He got in trouble once when he walked a batter and pitched out of it. His other two pitches are relly just show-me and does not use them much. lefties that hit curves well may give him trouble unless his change gets better.
Conclusion: This game shows anyone can be better on any given day. If Verlander threw strikes like Buchholz he will be dominant, because when he did get up no one hit him. Both can do well this year even though they both only have two pitches ready for ML hitters. Buchholz curve is similar to Sheets and I heard from a scout that it was the best he had seen in all of the grapefruit league this spring.
Any thoughts on these two or some of their other performances? Do you think that was fairly good evaluations?