Sunday afternoon, Houston Astros starter Justin Verlander joined the 200 Club.
Despite not pitching all that well against Oakland on Sunday — 5.1 innings, seven hits and four runs (earned) — the Astros put nine on the board in support of their hurler — including six off of Oakland starter Sean Manaea. Not only did that restore Houston’s one-game lead on the Athletics, but it also gave Verlander his 200th win.
And while the ‘win’ for pitchers is silly for many reasons, it’s still significant to the pitchers themselves. Don’t believe us? Well, look no further than this story courtesy of Yahoo’s Jack Baer. Not to mention, this tweet from Astros beat writer Brian McTaggart:
“Gerrit Cole gave a speech to the team postgame and the players sprayed Verlander with champagne in celebration of 200 wins.”
Again, the win is a heavily flawed statistic. And yet, these are still special moments for the player. There’s no reason to put a damper on that.
In the meantime, Verlander continues to experience a resurgence with the Astros. In fact, we haven’t seen numbers like this since his dominant stretch with the Tigers (2009-12). Right now, he holds a 2.52 ERA, 3.01 FIP and 2.30 DRA — the last of which would be a career-high if the season ended today. He’s also striking out 33.5% of batters, which is up nearly eight percent from last season. Oh, and then there’s his would-be career-best 0.93 WHIP.
In other words, it looks like Verlander is far from finished when it comes to dominating opposing hitters. And that’s despite the fact that he’ll turn 36 years old in February. As the Astros gear up for yet another postseason stretch run, they’ll need the Verlander they’ve been getting for most of the season. The one that is now the 117th pitcher in Major League history to reach the 200 win plateau.
How much higher can he climb?