Verlander aging like fine wine
It says something about the state of the game in 2019 when Justin Verlander can strike out 15 batters with elite stuff – and still give up three homers. And his team loses.
Such was the case for the big righthander on June 12 when he K’d a career-best 15 Milwaukee Brewers but gave up jacks to Ryan Braun, Eric Thames and Yasmani Grandal as the Houston Astros wound up losing in 14 innings 6-3.
Yep, the longball is king again this year.
But that doesn’t detract from what has otherwise been an outstanding season for the seven-time All-Star, even by his own standards. At 36, he’s arguably off to the best start of his career, at this writing posting a 9-2 won-lost record with a 2.41 ERA, an unheard-of WHIP of 0.73 and an uber-stingy opponent batting average of .152, while striking out 125 in 100.2 innings. Those are numbers that are on track with his Cy Young and MVP season of 2011, which were 24-5, 2.40, 0.92, .192 and 250 in 251 as a member of the Detroit Tigers, his team for the first 12 years of his storied career.
An Astro since the trade deadline of 2017, he’s the ace of a staff that won the World Series that year and went deep into the playoffs in ’18. Little wonder, then, why he’s the pick of many to start for the American League in the 2019 MLB All-Star Game, which airs Tuesday, July 9, on Fox.
Full name: Justin Brooks Verlander
Birth date: Feb. 20, 1983
Birthplace: Manakin-Sabot, Va.
Height/weight: 6 feet 5 inches/225 pounds
Teams: Detroit Tigers (2005-17), Houston Astros (2017-present)
Position: Starting pitcher
Honors and achievements: Seven-time All-Star (2007, 2009–2013, 2018); AL Rookie of the Year (2006); AL MVP, Cy Young and Pitching Triple Crown (2011); five-time AL strikeout leader (2009, 2011, 2012, 2016, 2018); two-time MLB wins leader (2009, 2011); AL ERA leader (2011); ALCS MVP (2017); pitched no-hitters in 2007 and 2011; career record is 213–125 rwith a 3.35 ERA and 2,831 strikeouts