Justin Verlander and Kate Upton went to the Flyers game together


Rumors of Kate Upton dating Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander have existed for well over a year. Upton threw some water on the fire last February during an interview around Valentine’s Day when she declared herself single. On Saturday, the Cy Young Award winner and bikini dominator attended a Philadelphia Flyers game together.

As you can see from the photo above that Twitter user @charlton_dylan shared, Upton and Verlander sat together in some box seats. Several other people tweeted during the game that they spotted the two together at the Wells Fargo Center.

We’d say that Upton and Verlander have probably just been friends since the rumors began swirling, but even Verlander’s grandfather once said the two were a couple. It’s also worth noting that Upton reportedly broke up with “Dancing With the Stars” veteran Maksim Chmerkovskiy a few weeks ago. Coincidence? I guess it could be.

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Justin Verlander: Shane Victorino is ‘looking to get hit’

Shane-Victorino-hit-by-pitchBoston Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino has practically eliminated the possibility of opposing pitchers pitching him inside this season. Because of a hamstring injury, the switch-hitting Victorino has been batting right-handed for most of the year. When he bats from the right side, Victorino crowds the crap out of the plate.

As a result, he has turned himself into a walking bruise and already tied the record for being hit by the most pitches in a single postseason. Victorino has been hit nine times. Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander feels The Flyin’ Hawaiian is wearing some of those pitches on purpose.

“I’ve seen some pitches that he got hit on that were strikes,” Verlander said on Monday, via Julian Benbow of the Boston Globe. “So, I mean, I don’t think you can worry about that. I think just whoever is the home plate umpire needs to be aware that he’s up there.

“Anything on the inner half, occasionally he’s looking to get hit. He’s up there, he’s right on top of the plate. And his arms are over the batter’s box and over part of the plate. If he doesn’t get out of the way, there could be an occasion that it could be a strike and it actually hits him.”

Unless he physically leans into the pitch (which Victorino may or may not have done this postseason), there is nothing illegal about the way he’s standing. And even if it was against the rules, the 32-year-old veteran knows most umpires would never call it. When asked about Verlander’s comments, Victorino said he is disappointed Verlander thinks he has been hit by strikes.

“It’s not like the umpires don’t know that I’m close to the plate,” Victorino said, via MLive.com’s Evan Drellich. “But you know, I’m not going to alter my approach and nor do I expect a pitcher to change theirs. Other than the fact, the only part that disappoints me in that quote, he thinks I’m getting hit by strikes. To me that’s — that to me is what disappoints me more than anything.”

Victorino has given new meaning to the phrase “take one for the team.” Game 3 of the ALCS is a bad time to change anything you’ve been doing all season.

H/T Hardball Talk

Justin Verlander says he was ‘running on fumes’ after eighth

Justin VerlanderJustin Verlander polished off the Oakland Athletics for the fourth straight time in the playoffs, allowing just two hits and one walk over eight scoreless innings in a 3-0 Game 5 ALDS win on Thursday. With the way Verlander was rolling — he had a perfect game through five and no-hitter through six — many wondered why manager Jim Leyland would lift him before the ninth and risk putting the game in the hands of the bullpen. Verlander had thrown 111 pitches, which is a lot, but the ace has thrown more than that many times in the past.

After the game, Verlander said he admitted to his coaches that he didn’t have much left after the eighth, but that he still wanted to pitch the ninth.

“I told them, ‘I’m running on fumes here, but send me back out there and let’s see what happens if I get three up and three down.’ Jim (Leyland) told me we don’t want to bring in our closer with men on base and a sticky situation (if I let a runner on) and they take me out. So that made sense to me and (Joaquin) Benoit’s been great all year,” Verlander told TBS’ David Aldridge after the game.

Aldridge also asked if that was the best command Verlander ever had of his pitches — which seemed like a pretty unlikely possibility given that Verlander has thrown no-hitters before — and the pitcher said it wasn’t quite his best.

“Not the best ever, but it felt good out there. It’s the first time in a while my changeup’s felt really good. Obviously this lineup with a bunch of left-handed hitters, that was a big pitch for me.”

Verlander has now thrown 30 consecutive scoreless innings in the playoffs against the A’s. Does he own them in the postseason or what? You almost have to feel badly for Oakland. So much for those Kate Upton cutouts serving as a distraction to the pitcher, huh?

Yoenis Cespedes breaks up Justin Verlander no-hitter with single (Video)

Justin Verlander was looking to become just the third pitcher in MLB history to throw a no-hitter in the postseason, but his bid came up short after he allowed a single to Yoenis Cespedes with two outs in the seventh of Game 5 of the ALDS on Thursday.

Yoenis CespedesVerlander retired the first two batters of the seventh, but he fell behind 1-0 to Cespedes and allowed a hard ground ball up the middle for a hit. Verlander wanted to go outside to Cespedes and hit his spot on the corner, but the Cuban outfielder delivered a shot up the middle for the hit. You can’t really complain about losing a no-hitter on such a clean shot.

After giving up the hit, Verlander struck out Seth Smith to end the inning.

Verlander actually had a perfect game going until the sixth when he walked Josh Reddick.

Verlander has thrown two no-hitters in his MLB career and was looking for his third. His first came in 2007 against the Milwaukee Brewers, and the other came in 2011 against the Toronto Blue Jays, when he walked one batter and faced the minimum of 27.

To show his level of dominance against the A’s, we’ll share this stat via Elias Sports Bureau: Verlander’s 30 consecutive scoreless innings against the A’s in the playoffs is a postseason record for any pitcher against one team.

Verlander allowed a run in the first inning of Game 1 of the 2012 ALDS against the A’s and then shut them out the next six innings. He pitched a 9-inning complete game shutout against the A’s in Game 5 of the 2012 ALDS. He went seven scoreless in Game 2 of the 2013 ALDS, and eight more scoreless in Game 5 of the 2013 ALDS.

Justin Verlander upset by Jack Clark’s ‘moronic’ steroids accusation

Justin Verlander TigersLike 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.

Jack Clark accuses Albert Pujols of using steroids, also mentions Justin Verlander

Albert-Pujols-Angels-slumpFormer MLB slugger Jack Clark began working as a radio host on WGNU 920 AM’s afternoon slot this week, and he has already managed to gain national attention. Clark, who belted 340 home runs over his 18-year MLB career, has mentioned twice how former personal trainer Chris Mihlfeld told him he injected Albert Pujols with performance-enhancing drugs.

Mihlfeld used to be Pujols’ personal trainer. In 2006, Mihlfeld’s name was linked to performance-enhancing drugs after Jason Grimsley, one of his former clients, admitted to taking steroids. That resulted in Pujols having to defend himself against PED accusations, which has has done several times since.

During a phone interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Thursday, Clark spoke about how he worked with Mihlfeld in 2000 as a coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers and said the former personal trainer tried to encourage him to take steroids like Pujols was. Clark claims he was simply looking for a nutrition program, which led to the following exchange with Mihlfeld.

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Justin Verlander’s mom hung up on Dave Dombrowski day he was drafted

Justin Verlander TigersJustin Verlander was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2004 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers and developed into a Cy Young Award winner and MVP. Verlander knew that he was going to be selected highly in the draft, but not everybody in his household was prepared for the phone calls he would receive.

In a clip recorded for MLB Network’s coverage of the 2013 MLB Draft, Verlander shared a story about the draft party his family held in ’04. Because of all the commotion from the party, the Tigers ace says that his mother accidentally hung up on Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, who had called the house after drafting the pitcher.

“I had a party at my parents’ house,” Verlander recalled. “I remember not hearing my name being called because my dad couldn’t get the Internet working fast enough. So he’s running around the house knowing that the draft has started and he can’t get it hooked up. So he finally gets it hooked up, and I didn’t hear my name called.

“So we got a call from the Tigers saying that they had selected me. And then Dave Dombrowski, who was the GM for the Tigers and still is, called my house. My mom picks up the phone and she’s like, ‘Who’s this? Oh, we’re having a party, he’ll call you back later.’ And hung up on him. My dad said, ‘Who was that?’ She told him, and he was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what are you doing?’

“So it was a good time, it was fun.”

Pretty funny story. The good news is that it could have been worse. At least Verlander wasn’t prank-called on draft day like this guy.