If the Detroit Tigers are fortunate enough to make it to the MLB World Series and a deciding Game 7, it would be fitting if the pitcher on the mound in the middle of a hostile ballpark were Justin Verlander.
The veteran right-hander had two innings to influence whether the American League or National League won home-field advantage in the World Series when he started Tuesday's All-Star game. But Verlander chose to try to please the crowd, rather than his league and his All-Star manager.
Since 2003, the winner of the All-Star game has been rewarded with home-field advantage in the World Series. The National League won it for the third straight year Tuesday.
Manager Ron Washington, whose Texas Rangers' lost in St Louis in Game 7 of last year's World Series, was as stunned as anyone when Verlander lasted only one inning, allowing five runs, after trying to hit triple digits on the radar gun.
Rather than commanding his fastball in the low 90s, he showed off his velocity. He once nodded toward Prince Fielder, after the Tigers first baseman yelled "101," encouraging Verlander to top his 100mph pitch. The result was back-to-back walks, setting up a three-run triple by Pablo Sandoval, the big blow in an 8-0 loss.
The team with home-field advantage has won six of the past nine World Series.
No doubt, Verlander would relish a chance to pitch a World Series Game 7, and if he does, he might think twice the next time he pitches in an All-Star game.