On Sunday, the Houston Astros’ starting pitcher Justin Verlander threw his third career no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays. The former American League MVP struck out 14 batters and walked only one. With his latest no-hit gem, Verlander joined some elite company and trails only Hall-of-Famers Nolan Ryan (seven) and Sandy Koufax (four) for the most in Major League Baseball history.
Verlander was the recipient of the AL’s Cy Young Award (best pitcher) in 2011. Now, he seems poised to make his second run at the award. Since the All-Star Break, the pitcher has started 10 games and allowed more than two runs only once. Currently, his earned run average sits at an impressive 2.69 through 193 innings pitched.
After beginning his career with the Detroit Tigers, Justin was traded to Houston in 2017. By season’s end, he was a vital member of the Astros’ World Series Championship team. Since the trade, the righty has rejuvenated a once spiraling career and seems destined to take his place in Cooperstown, New York as a future inductee of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The eight-time All-Star owns a career record of 221-128, and has amassed a total of 2,963 strikeouts to go along with an ERA of 3.34 over the course of 15 seasons in the major leagues. At just 36 years-old and barring any significant injuries, Verlander is destined to eclipse the 3,000 strikeout plateau and may possibly exceed 300 wins for his career.
Over the years, Justin has been recognized as one of the premier power-pitchers in professional baseball. However, not many people besides Tigers fans understand the key to his longevity. Verlander has long been capable of throwing at speeds up-to the high-90’s. Still, the pitcher neglects to throw at his top speeds, often waiting until the late innings to turn up the heat.
In 2013, the pitcher started seeing a slight-decline in his performance and members of the Tigers organization started to have their doubts that Verlander would return to form showcased during his prime. Eventually, citing an organizational rebuild, the team decided it was best to move the former Rookie of the Year out of town.
The decision is turning out to be a major mistake, as the veteran has never looked more dominant in his career. Simply put, J.V. is a modern Roger Clemens and possesses the stamina and pitch tools to extend his career well into his 40’s. The prediction opens a realm of possibilities that could eventually prove Justin to be one of the greatest to ever pick up a baseball and walk onto a mound. For now, he will continue his role as ace of the World Series hopeful Astros.
Header Photo Credit: New York Times