36-year-old Justin Verlander is compiling a season for the ages, defying his age and continuing to place himself among baseball’s upper echelon of pitchers.
After yet another dominant performance against a fellow playoff hopeful, today being the Oakland Athletics, Verlander has lowered his season ERA to 2.86 and boosted his strikeout count to 183. It came on the back of six sizzling innings that conceded just two hits, one unearned run, while notching 11 strikeouts. Backed by a strong performance from the Astros’ bullpen, a slender lead held to hand the veteran his MLB-leading 13th win of the season.
It marks the tenth consecutive season where the right hander has notched at least 13 wins in a full season of work (his injury-shortened 2015 season not included) and improves his stellar career record to 217-127.
Speaking after his outing, Verlander said:
“I mixed them up quite a bit. Most of the time when I’m out there, I try to let the batter dictate the path I’m going to go with my pitch selection and trust my instincts. I threw quite a bit of offspeed today. They showed that they were being aggressive. They seemed aggressive throughout the game.”
Verlander’s next challenge will be against the Indians in Cleveland next week, an opponent he’s typically struggled against throughout his otherwise brilliant career. In 52 career starts against the Tribe, he’s 20-24 with a 4.71 ERA – a mark considerably higher than his career 3.36 ERA.