Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros are running away with the American League West. The Los Angeles Angels appeared poised to do some damage at the beginning of the season. However, due to the Angels' 14-game losing streak that only recently came to and end, the Houston Astros now find themselves securely at the top of their division. The closest opponent, the Texas Rangers, are 8 games behind. Justin Verlander and the rest of the rotation have been the story for the Astros this season.
Justin Verlander wows fans as he becomes the first pitcher this season to reach eight wins
Justin Verlander has had a long and fruitful career. It all began when he was drafted by the Detroit Tigers second overall in the MLB June Amateur Draft in 2004.
Verlander played 12 years for the Tigers. He would go on to receive six All-Star designations as well as the 2011 Cy Young Award for pitching an ERA of 2.40 over 34 starts that year.
By 2017, Verlander had not made the All-Star game in four years, and his ERA was slowly climbing. He was traded to the Astros midway through the 2017 season, and he began to improve immediately.
His ERA on the Astros in 2017 was 1.06 over five starts. Verlander also won the World Series with the Astros that year. It became clear that Houston may have been the shift that Justin Verlander needed to make.
In 2019, the 36-year-old Verlander would win the second Cy Young Award of his career. The ace pitched a record of 21-6, tearing through 223 innings — the most in the MLB — to finish with an ERA of 2.58 that season.
Justin Verlander missed most of the 2020 season and all of 2021 due to Tommy John surgery. It looked as though Verlander, now approaching 40, would finally put away his glove.
Ostensibly 100% healthy, Verlander has bounced back and beaten the odds in 2022. So far, Verlander has an ERA under 2, with a record of 8-2. He also has the lowest WHIP in baseball, at just 0.814.
Could Verlander win the third Cy Young Award of his career and send the Astros back to the World Series? Crazier things have happened. We will have to keep watching the 2022 MLB season to find out.