Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander 2019 campaign has been incredible and he has finished up the season tied up with Nolan Ryan in this stat. What?
Houston Astros fans — the team has done it all. They’ve clinched a playoff spot, they’ve earned home-field advantage through the ALCS and they were able to do the ultimate last night — clinching that said advantage throughout the ENTIRE postseason.
The Houston Astros can comfortably rest knowing that they will finish up this season with the best record in franchise history but with the best record in MLB. That’s a testament to how special this team is and they’re prepared to do battle against whomever they face in the postseason.
Although it’s still too close to call at this moment, the Houston Astros could either be facing the Tampa Bay Rays or the Oakland A’s in the ALDS next weekend but despite that, this team will still be tested. However, I have no doubt that they will shine through. Baseball is tough and it can be quite unpredictable at times but with the amount of talent this team has, there’s no question that they will be a favorite to win it all.
And that’s all we can ask of our team, to leave it all out on the field and give it their earnest in order to accomplish the task that has been set forth.
Anyway, that’s that but let’s talk about the greatness of Justin Verlander last night.
He knew what was at stake, he knew that he wanted to break his own record and he came through in the clutch because he’s the ultimate competitor, the trait of a champion.
Verlander was just six strikeouts away from notching 3,000 for his career and he was able to masterfully work through the lineup, collecting them as if they were trinkets going out of style.
I was watching at the very moment where he had 2,999 and Kole Calhoun was up at bat at the bottom of the 4th inning, the count was 2-2 and it looked like Verlander was about to put Calhoun out of his misery. Then JV throws a slider, striking him out but because the pitch was incredibly wild and Calhoun got to take his base. So my cheers for JV were bittersweet because of this happening but whatever way you slice it, he got to 3,000.
I’d imagine that’s not the way he envisioned for this feat to be accomplished but he was grateful nonetheless, tipping his hat to the crowd and with Kate Upton, his beautiful wife, cheering him on front and center.
Calhoun was again the sacrificial lamb for his second feat of notching 300 strikeouts in a season — a career-high — at the bottom of the 6th inning. It was a 1-2 count and this time, Verlander finished him off with one of his four-seam fastballs to which that closed out his historic night after just 80 pitches of work.
It’s great that these late-season games actually have some meaning and the continuing narratives
More from House of Houston
- Are you the 2021 FanSided Sports Fan of the Year?
- Houston Texans: 4 reasons Romeo Crennel is right coach right now
- Astros-Twins Wild Card Series: 5 things to know as MLB postseason begins
- Houston Texans: The Most Underrated Sports Drought Ever
- Houston Texans: J.J. Watt’s early case for NFL Hall of Fame
— JV’s record, clinching home-field advantage — certainly urged me to keep watching. It goes to show that there’s always something play for, especially when you’re as successful as the Houston Astros.
But back to the point of why I wrote this piece in the first place, Jake Kaplan of The Athletic pointed out an extremely important stat today.
He mentioned that Verlander’s opponent’s batting average (.172) is tied with Nolan Ryan for 4th-best of all time. Ryan completed that feat back in 1991 and the fact that Verlander is associated with the Ryan name is nothing short of fantastic.
This only accentuates an incredible season that JV has had and even at age 36, he still is pitching at an incredibly high level.
Congrats to JV — go Houston Astros!
Verlander has posted a 21-6 record, a 2.58 ERA while tossing 300 strikeouts to 64 earned runs coupled with a record-breaking 0.80 WHIP, an amazing 3.27 FIP through 223.0 innings pitched in 34 starts this season.