The 59-32 Houston Astros enter the break as one of MLB’s best teams, with a nine-game advantage over the Seattle Mariners in the AL West division.
That’s certainly not by chance, or a coincidence: they are very good at baseball and have a top offense and an excellent, deep pitching staff.
The rotation is being led by a 39-year-old hurler.
Justin Verlander, however, is not your average 39-year-old.
The seasoned veteran and former Cy Young award winner is sporting an incredible 1.89 ERA in 109.1 innings.
It’s incredible not because he isn’t talented: he remains one of the most skilled pitchers in the league.
However, he hadn’t pitched since the summer of 2020, as he underwent Tommy John surgery back then.
Against All Odds
The procedure is not considered a death sentence for hurlers anymore, but it’s amazing to see such a veteran pitcher coming back so strongly from it.
Verlander has struck out 25.6% of the hitters he has faced while walking only 4.5%.
He has been, far and away, the Astros’ best pitcher, either starter or reliever.
He is still making history with his performance, according to Stats by STATS.
Justin Verlander of the @astros is the first pitcher in MLB history to enter the All-Star break with: 12+ wins, .800+ win pct, ERA under 2.00, opp BA under .200, WHIP under 0.90, 5.00+ K/BB ratio,” they tweeted.
Justin Verlander of the @astros is the first pitcher in MLB history to enter the All-Star break with:
– 12+ wins
– .800+ win pct
– ERA under 2.00
– opp BA under .200
– WHIP under 0.90
– 5.00+ K/BB ratio
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) July 16, 2022
Those are incredible numbers.
Verlander currently projects to finish with somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 wins and a sub-2.00 ERA, with lots of strikeouts.
Right now, he is a strong candidate to win the American League Cy Young one more time.
Perhaps more importantly, he is on a mission to lead the Astros back to the World Series and bring home their first title since 2017.