Sport Why Yankees can have hope with Justin Verlander on mound for Astros in Game 5
Justin Verlander wants to keep pitching for almost another decade
Justin Verlander is coming off another outstanding season and is showing no signs of slowing down, but it would be unrealistic to think he can continue to put together 20-win seasons well into his 40s, wouldn’t it? He doesn’t seem to think so.© Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY SportsVerlander will pitch Game 1 of the ALDS for the Houston Astros against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday, and the 36-year-old spoke on Thursday about how much longer he plans to play. He mentioned that he wants to still be pitching when he’s 45, and he did not sound like he was kidding.Nine more years of Verlander? "I guess I kind of pegged this like 45 number.
To survive at least one more night in the ALCS, the Yankees have to figure out a way to solve Justin Verlander. When the Cooperstown-bound right-hander faced New York in Game 2 of the series, he allowed just five hits and a pair of runs in 6 2/3 innings, a game the Astros eventually won in 11 innings on a Carlos Correa walk-off home run.
That game was pivotal in this series. The Yankees took the opener in Houston, and if they had won Game 2 on the road, too, that would have been a tough hill for the Astros to climb. Remember how the Nationals won the first two NLCS games in St. Louis, then finished off the sweep back in D.C.? That’s not to say the Yankees would have duplicated the sweep, of course, but dismissing the gravitas of that game — “It’s only Game 2 of a seven-game series.” — is pretty misguided.
Astros' Justin Verlander to start ALDS Game 4 on short rest
Verlander will have had three days of rest when he takes the mound Tuesday.
Anyway, that wasn't the first pressure-packed game of Verlander’s career, of course. Verlander owns a career 3.33 ERA in the regular season and a career 3.18 ERA in 169 2/3 innings. Narrowing that October resume a bit, eight of his 27 career playoff starts have come in games that could have ended the series, either with Verlander’s team potentially clinching or with his team facing elimination.
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Different types of pressure, of course, but still October pressure to the nth degree. Let’s take a look at how he’s done in those eight games.
Astros regroup behind Verlander for Game 2 vs. Yankees
HOUSTON - Astros ace right-hander Justin Verlander was almost sheepish in the dismissal of his strong postseason history against his upcoming opponent Sunday at Minute Maid Park, but there is little doubt that Houston will require Verlander to be stellar again against the New York Yankees. © APWF Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander waits for the start of Game 1 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, in Houston.
2006 World Series, Game 5
Series situation: Verlander’s Tigers trailed the Cardinals, 3-1
Verlander’s final line: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K
Need to know: Facing elimination against a Cardinals team that had won just 83 games during the regular season, the Tigers held a 2-1 lead into the fourth inning. With one out, the Cardinals’ Nos. 7-8 hitters, Yadier Molina and So Taguchi, singled and St. Louis pitcher Jeff Weaver laid down a sacrifice bunt. Verlander hopped off the mound, grabbed the ball and tried to get Molina at third base, but his throw sailed into left field. Molina scored to tie the game, and Taguchi followed him home with the go-ahead run on a groundout by David Eckstein. A run off Fernando Rodney in the seventh concluded the scoring in the 4-2 win that gave the Cardinals their 10th World Series title.
2011 ALCS, Game 5
Series situation: Verlander’s Tigers trailed the Rangers, 3-1
Solomon: Winning merely a part of Verlander’s routine
Justin Verlander likes things a certain way. Tension builds within as a start approaches. He starts working on his next start right after his last, building toward game day, when teammates know it’s hands off, no idle chatter, leave the big guy alone.“He is as focused as anyone I have ever seen,” Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole said. “His preparation is second to none.”Thursday, more than 24 hours from his next start, Game 5 of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on Friday night, Verlander said he was already starting to feel it.
Verlander’s final line: 7 1/3 IP, 8 H, 4 R/ER, 3 BB, 8 K
Need to know: The Rangers had won two of the first four games in extra innings — strangely, both games ended in the 11th with Texas winning by a score of 7-3 — and it was up to Verlander to help extend the series. He allowed two runs heading into the eighth (both RBIs by Josh Hamilton) and Detroit owned a 7-2 lead. His day ended three batters into that inning, when Nelson Cruz hit a two-run homer. Detroit held on to win Game 5, but the Rangers romped past the Tigers in Game 6, 15-5, to earn the World Series berth.
2012 ALDS, Game 5
Series situation: Verlander’s Tigers were tied with the A’s, 2-2
Verlander’s final line: 9 IP, 4 H, 0 R/ER, 1 BB, 11 K
Need to know: The Tigers took Games 1-2, but the A’s claimed Games 3-4 to set up the type of winner-take-all games that make October great. Verlander was brilliant. Only two Oakland runners advanced past first base the entire game. Detroit won, 6-0, to advance to the ALCS.
2013 ALDS, Game 5
Series situation: Verlander’s Tigers were tied with the A’s, 2-2
Verlander’s final line: 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R/ER, 1 BB, 10 K
Need to know: Feels familiar, right? A nearly identical situation — opponent, site, series, situation — and Verlander produced yet another winner-take-all gem. He didn’t finish this one himself, but only allowed two hits in eight shutout innings. Verlander was perfect through five innings and carried a no-hitter into the seventh, when Yoenis Cespedes broke up the attempt with a two-out single. Joaquin Benoit finished the ninth in Detroit’s 3-0 victory.
Yankees light up Justin Verlander in disastrous first inning for Astros
Yankees light up Justin Verlander in disastrous first inning for AstrosWith their back against the wall, the Yankees slumping offense came to life against the American League Cy Young candidate by scoring four runs within the first five batters of the game.
2017 ALCS, Game 6
Series situation: Verlander’s Astros trailed the Yankees, 3-2,
Verlander’s final line: 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R/ER, 1 BB, 8 K
Need to know: This one feels relevant, eh? Instead of trying to clinch an ALCS against the Yankees, as he’s doing tonight, in 2017 Verlander was trying to keep his team alive. And the top four guys in the lineup in 2017 will be in the Yankees’ lineup in 2019. The Yankees had all the momentum in this particular game; they’d won three in a row in the Bronx, outscoring Houston 19-5 in the three games. The Yankees didn’t even get a runner past first base until the sixth inning. Houston won, 7-1, and then took Game 7, 4-0, to advance to the World Series.
2017 World Series, Game 6
Series situation: Verlander’s Astros led the Dodgers, 3-2
Verlander’s final line: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R/ER, 0 BB, 9 K
Need to know: Remember the crazy Game 5 in Houston? The Astros won that bananas game, 13-12, in 10 innings. Verlander made sure Game 6 in Los Angeles was much, much different. He retired 15 of the first 16 Dodgers he faced as the Astros took a 1-0 lead on a third-inning home run by George Springer. Things fell apart in the sixth, though. After Austin Barnes singled and Chase Utley reached on a hit-by-pitch, Corey Seager doubled and Chris Taylor followed with a sacrifice fly. The Dodgers suddenly had a 2-1 lead they wouldn’t relinquish, forcing Game 7.
Three takeaways from Yankees' ALCS Game 5 victory over the Astros
The Yankees kept hope alive thanks to some impressive starting pitching and a pair of early home runs. Now the Astros will have to defend home turf in an attempt to avoid a Game 7 and advance to the World Series.Here are three takeaways from the Yankees' win:New York found quality pitching when it mattered mostThe Yankees have made it a point to utilize a host of pitchers in the ALCS, but they got a great performance from starter James Paxton and a trio of relievers in a critical game that could've ended their season. Paxton gave up four hits and one earned run in six innings of work, notching nine strikeouts.
2018 ALCS, Game 4
Series situation: Verlander’s Astros trailed the Red Sox, 3-1
Verlander’s final line: 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R/ER, 2 BB, 4 K
Need to know: Boston’s four runs all scored via the home run: J.D. Martinez’s solo shot in the third and Rafael Devers’ three-run homer in the sixth. This game, though, will always be the David Price game. The talented lefty’s playoff struggles were well documented, but he was brilliant in this one, throwing six shutout innings against the reigning World Series champions as the Red Sox clinched the ALCS.
2019 ALDS, Game 4
Series situation: Verlander’s Astros led the Rays, 2-1
Verlander’s final line: 3 2/3 IP, 7 H, 4 R/ER, 3 BB, 5 K
Need to know: Let’s just say this one won’t make Verlander’s Hall of Fame plaque. Ten of the 21 batters he faced reached safely via a walk or hit, and the Astros lost the game.
In those eight starts, Verlander has a 2.55 ERA, with 59 strikeouts and 42 hits allowed in 53 innings. That's Hall of Fame stuff, no doubt. If you’re a Yankees fan looking for reasons to hope, though, there’s this: Verlander’s team has lost the past three potential clinching games he’s started, and his ERA in those three games is 4.60.
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Three takeaways from Nationals' Game 2 World Series win over the Astros .
The Nationals head home to D.C. up 2-0 in the World Series after their 12-3 win over the Astros in Game 2.The first inning saw both teams plate two runs each as Houston's Justin Verlander and Washington's Stephen Strasburg faltered slightly very early in the game. After that, it was the pitchers' duel many expected for the next several innings.
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