Like Albert Pujols, Justin Verlander is upset with Jack Clark for accusing him of using steroids. The Detroit Tigers pitcher is not threatening legal action against the former all-star, but he does think the radio host’s accusations this week were moronic.
On his new radio show and in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Clark said Albert Pujols’ former trainer told him Pujols used steroids. Also on his radio show, Clark accused Verlander of juicing.
“Verlander was like Nolan Ryan, he threw 97, 98, 100 miles an hour from the first inning to the ninth inning,” Clark said on the air, per the Post-Dispatch. “He got that big contract, now he can barely reach 92, 93. What happened to it? He has no arm problems, nothing’s wrong. It’s just the signs are there.”
Verlander, who has been one of the hardest throwers in the game since breaking into the bigs in 2005, dismissed Clark’s accusations.
“It’s moronic,” Verlander said, via the Detroit Free Press. “Look at the source. It’s moronic to talkabout something you know nothing about and clearly … he’s not watching.
“There is no merit in what he is talking about. He’s not watching me pitch. Because if did he would’ve seen my last start, right? He’s saying I’m struggling to hit 93, 94? I averaged 97 and hit a 100 in my last start. So clearly he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
Verlander is right — he touched 101 mph during his start on Tuesday. His velocity has been down this season, but that is following a trend that has existed since 2009. Verlander peaked with an average fastball velocity of 95.6 mph in 2009. He averaged 95.4 mph in 2010; 95.0 in 2011; 94.3 in 2012; and now 93.0 this season, per FanGraphs’ metrics. He’s having a down year by his standards, but he hasn’t been bad. He’s still been a very valuable pitcher. He’s also 30 years old and has thrown over 1,700 innings in his career. Pitchers tend to wear down over the years, and that seems like a more likely explanation for Verlander’s problems this season than steroids.