At 36, Verlander enjoying a vintage year

Verlander aging like fine wine

Justin Verlander

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.

Justin Verlander

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

Bats/throws: Right/right

No.: 35

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

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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