Justin Verlander needed all his wiles to strike out Shohei Ohtani
Rookie hitters are supposed to be easy to get out. They're young! They're inexperienced! They don't yet know how to file their taxes or prepare for the nuances of pitch sequencing.
He shook off catcher
Yeah, that'll work.
Verlander talked about his approach against the star after the game. "That particular at-bat I felt like I got him going pretty good. He was expanding the zone. He was trying to catch up to the fastball. I think he was very aware of my fastball in and that's what the back-and-forth between Brian [McCann] and myself was, when we shook off so many times. It was what pitch to execute."
After Ohtani stepped back in the box, "I just kinda threw it up and away and let it sail off the plate," Verlander said. "It's hard with a guy like Ohtani because the league doesn't know him yet. In an age of numbers and analytics and all that, there's nothing out there on him. He doesn't have a lot of at-bats yet, so you gotta go by feel."
"That's what my gameplan going into tonight against Ohtani was: I was going to pitch to my strengths and adjust accordingly with what I saw," Verlander added. "And I saw success."
Verlander used a similar pitch to strikeout Ohtani again in the ninth inning, which was the 2,500th punchout of the right-hander's career.
It was all part of an incredible performance from Verlander that saw the lanky right-hander throw a seven-strikeout shutout against the Angels. That included retiring