A career winning percentage of .623 (188-114). 385 career starts. 2,416 strikeouts. A 3.46 ERA. 1.184 WHIP. Rookie of the Year. Cy Young Award. MVP.
These are the stats that a pitcher dream of after 13 years in the big leagues. But one thing is missing for Houston Astros RHP Justin Verlander. Verlander still doesn't have a World Series Championship to his name.
Verlander spent 12 1⁄2 seasons with the Detroit Tigers and reached the World Series twice and he was 0-3 with 12 earned runs allowed over 15 innings in his first two trips.
Verlander has already exorcised the demons of his playoff past and now has a chance to give the Astros their first franchise World Series victory and his first World Series ring.
“I mean, yeah, these are what it's all about. These are the moments that you want to be a part of as a baseball player,” Verlander said. “It's everything you could ask for. And like you said, Game 6, it's either win it to stay alive or win it to win it all. Either way, it's going to be pretty intense.”
Right now, it clear that he has peaked with the Astros late in his career. He has yet to lose a start with the Astros in the regular or postseason. In the playoffs, Verlander is 4-0 with seven earned runs over 30 2⁄3 innings. He has struck out 29 and walked eight over that stretch.
In game two of the 2017 World Series, Verlander gave up three runs on two hits. Both hits were home runs.
“Win, lose or draw -- well, there is no draw in baseball, win or lose, I think that's what my teammates understand is that I'm giving -- there's no preparation or thing that I could do to possibly try to be any better,” Verlander said. “I've given everything I possibly can and prepared as best I possibly can, and I think that's all you can ask for as a teammate.”
Verlander returns to Dodger Stadium to make only his second career start in Los Angeles and the 35th stadium that Verlander has pitched in to finish what couldn’t be done in Detroit: win a title.