It’s a fact: Justin Verlander is going to be the Astros’ starter to kick off the ALDS against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday. After not pitching in the postseason since the 2019 World Series, the Cy Young award frontrunner has his first big challenge days after completing a regular season for the ages at the age of 39.
Here’s everything you need to know…
- This will be Verlander’s 31st career start in the postseason, the fourth-highest mark in history after Andy Pettitte’s 44, Tom Glavine’s 35, and Roger Clemens’ 34. There are only six hurlers with at least 30 starts in October – besides those three and Verlander, Clayton Kershaw and Greg Maddux complete the list, both with 30.
- The two best pitchers in terms of strikeouts in the history of the postseason will have the chance to battle for the first spot in that department. Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw leads with 207 while Verlander is second with 205 – both are the only pitchers with at least 200 punchouts in postseason history.
- There are only two pitchers with at least 15 wins in October baseball: Andy Pettitte (19) and Josh Smoltz (15). With one more win, Justin Verlander will make it three.
- Verlander has lost four postseason decisions in a row, posting a 5.40 ERA with eight home runs and 17 earned runs allowed over 28 1/3 innings in that span (five starts).
- Since 2017, Verlander has won his last four starts to begin a postseason series – 2.22 ERA across 24 1/3 innings.
- JV went 5-1, 2.34 ERA in six outings against the Mariners during the 2022 regular season. He registered a 0.92 WHIP and 43 strikeouts over 42 1/3 innings pitched.
- Verlander hasn’t lost twice against the Mariners in a season since 2013 (started two games, lost both).
- The Mariners are the fifth team Verlander has more wins against (21) in regular-season baseball.
- Most hits against Justin Verlander (Mariners’ current team): Carlos Santana (19), JP Crawford (7), Ty France (7).
- Most strikeouts: Carlos Santana (19), Eugenio Suárez (13), four tied with six (Rodríguez, Winker, Haniger, Raleigh).
- Verlander is well-rested. After coming back from the injured list on September 16, he averaged 87.5 pitches per outing. Before suffering the injury, he was averaging 94.0.
- In his last six regular-season starts, Verlander pitched 32 innings of 0.84-ERA ball.
- Verlander didn’t allow a home run in any of his final 10 trips to the mound (58.2 IP) in the regular season.
- Verlander didn’t surrender more than three runs in any of his final 15 starts before the postseason.
- Since the start of the 2019 regular season, Justin has a 21-5 record with a 2.06 ERA over 33 starts (205.1 IP) at home.
- When pitching at home in October, Verlander is 9-5 with a 3.10 ERA across 15 starts (101.2 IP).