Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander has been sensational to say the least this season. His accolades keep racking up so what has been going on? Look.
The Houston Astros are already at 90 wins on the season, well on pace to win over 100 games this season for the third straight. It’s just amazing to be witness of such a renaissance that this franchise has been enjoying as of late.
During those dark, dreary and hopeless seasons earlier this decade, we wondered if the process was ever going to come to fruition. Each season was mired in disappointment, low expectations and accentuated with triple-digit losses.
We kept hearing showers of caveats that kept saying “trust the process,” when we all were wondering what the end game was.
Then came the surprising 2015 season and the rest has been history with the franchise winning their first World Series championship just two seasons later.
As we fast forward to the present, this team is just two seasons removed from such a landmark moment in Houston sports history and they have an excellent shot to go get another title just based at the level of dominance that they’ve had for this season.
We’ve finally arrived to September, the last month of the season and this will be home stretch to rack up as many wins as possible to tag a footnote in the books as one to remember for this franchise.
But speaking of footnotes, there’s a damn good one that will be in there within the likes of one Justin Verlander. I was watching the game Sunday afternoon and it was hard to fathom what I was seeing. Pitch after pitch, K after K, Verlander was dealing and absolutely nobody from the Toronto Blue Jays could hit off of him.
Robinson Chirinos talked about postgame that there was something peculiar about JV’s fastball as to him having a bit of extra gas to it. I’m paraphrasing his words but Ronny knew that this game was going to be different for him to catch.
In light of all of that, he caught his first no-hitter of his career which was just as much his as it was Verlander’s. He’ll have a moment that he’ll cherish for the rest of his life because it’s hard work to accomplish such a feat in baseball.
He had that look in his eye as if he were in the pursuit of something great and nothing was going to stop him from reaching his goal. It was inspiring to watch and it certainly was must-see TV.
An Abraham Toro two-run homer and 14 strikeouts later to finish things off, Verlander became just the sixth pitcher in MLB history with three career no-hitters. He’s in terrific company with fellow Houston Astros great Nolan Ryan, who actually has seven to his credit. Wow!
But let’s talk about how great this man has been this season.
MLB Insider Jon Morosi made an awesome point that Verlander’s 0.772 WHIP is the lowest mark
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that any MLB pitcher has had during a season in history when pitching more than 190 innings.
Only Pedro Martinez was able to complete such a feat for the Boston Red Sox back in 2000.
His 177 ERA+ is the highest mark of his career which surpasses the 172 he notched back in 2011, his MVP season with the Detroit Tigers.
Verlander has said that he wants to be the Tom Brady of baseball and at age 36, he’s doing a damn good job upholding that part of the bargain. He was signed to a two-year, $66 million extension at the beginning of this season and if this keeps up, the Houston Astros could be ponying up more money in the future.
It’s absolutely amazing to watch this man deal on the mound and I’m that group that’s ready to sign up for more of this! He’s got the AL Cy Young Award on lock for 2019!
Keep it up JV — go Houston Astros!
Verlander has posted a 17-5 record, a 2.56 ERA, while tossing 239 strikeouts to 55 earned runs with a 3.42 FIP and 12.0 K/9 through 193.0 innings pitched in 29 starts this season.