Regner: Age is source of Justin Verlander's troubles
JUN 12, 2014 1:00p ET
Theories abound as to what's troubling Justin Verlander.
The Tigers ace has been rocked recently as his team's swoon has morphed into a freefall.
Verlander isn't the only reason the losses are piling up for the Tigers and the AL Central is tightening up. Every facet of their game has contributed to their current funk.
What puts Verlander at the front of the Tigers' concerns, though, is that -- with the exception of the 2013 playoffs -- he's looked ordinary and mortal for almost a calendar year.
We've all heard the saying about death and taxes being the only sure things in life. In Detroit, Verlander mowing down the competition was also part of that list. He's always been a cut above -- arguably the greatest Tigers pitcher ever.
So what's wrong?
After his shelling in Chicago on Wednesday, Verlander told the media that he must stop "tinkering." He talked about being where he needs to be, said that his stuff is there but not his control -- walks are giving the hitters an advantage.
Yeah, that all sounds good and I'm sure Verlander believes it. But there's more to it than that.
Verlander's 31 years old and had core-muscle-repair surgery this past winter. His velocity is also down from the days he consistently hit 100 mph on the radar gun.
Heck, he's thrown more than 12,000 pitches -- the most in baseball -- during the last several years.
That's not to say Verlander's finished. He's way too competitive and proud not to figure this situation out. He must accept, however, that he's aging -- which translates into more tinkering.
My dearly departed mother always told me, "Arthur, getting old sucks." As usual, she was right.
As you age, you're forced to modify your routine. Your mind is willing, but your body dictates what's possible.
Now imagine being a professional athlete, where the slightest drop-off in performance could cost you your career. And you're getting older while the competition's getting younger.
When Verlander does the same things he's always done, the results aren't the same anymore.
Once he realizes that the JV of 31 isn't the JV of 25, he'll pull himself out of this malaise. He'll tinker until he gets it right.
We can't turn back the clock, but we can put our own spin on how it moves forward.
Verlander's on a new path, and once he gets a little further down the road, he and the Tigers will be better. It's just going to take some time.