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Verlander struggling with his fastball command

Verlander struggling with his fastball command

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Verlander struggling with his fastball command
BOSTON -- Justin Verlander's streak of consecutive starts lasting at least six innings was washed out Tuesday night, and he took the classy route by saying he'll just have to start a new one. But as he also pointed out, the rain was far from his only problem.

He was far more worried about his wild fastball than he was about the wild weather.

"The last couple starts, I've just been a bit inconsistent," Verlander said. "Gotta work to get it back. I have some work to do."

Verlander threw 54 fastballs Tuesday night, with 34 going for strikes, according to data from MLB.com's Gameday application. He got nine swings and misses and 17 called strikes.

It was a lower strike percentage than he had going last Thursday in Cleveland, where he threw 33 out of 44 fastballs for strikes and got seven swings and misses.

For the season, Verlander is throwing just over two-thirds of his fastballs for strikes at 67.9 percent, according to data from STATS.

The numbers seem to back what has been observed -- that Verlander was missing on his location with his fastball. Part of that, Verlander suggested, might have been the result of a slick mound, causing his foot to slip more than a few times and sending his fastball sailing a bit. But he seemed to suggest it was more than that.

"Once you get out to your maximum stride length, if you slide any, obviously you kind of think about it in your head," Verlander said. "It's going to be hard for your body to get back over the top. I kind of feel like that's what was happening. There was only two or three pitches that I actually felt my foot slide, but looking back at it, I know if it was happening then, it was probably happening a little bit on every pitch -- not to that extreme, but you know if you're running it up there 99, 100 [mph], it's a pretty small margin of error to get the right release point. But I need to make the adjustment quicker, bottom line."

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