Given his early season dominance, I had made a mental note to keep a close eye on Jered Weaver. So of course I kicked myself when I realized that I had missed his start against the Rangers last night.
And it was kick-worthy: Weaver gave up only one run on six hits while striking out eight in a complete game in the Angels’ 4-1 win. Silly me watched two “Arrested Development” reruns while running on the treadmill and then switched to the Braves-Dodgers game after the workout. The bright side: one of the episodes was the one in which Gob talks about his four-thousand dollar suits (“COME ON!”) and Michael and his niece sing “Afternoon Delight.” OK, “Arrested Development” may have been better. Still, I shoulda watched Weaver.
He’s now 5-0 in his first five starts. He leads the league in strikeouts with 39. Leads the league in innings with 36 and two-thirds. He’s only walked nine. He’s easily the best pitcher in baseball over the first month of the season is the early leader for the Cy Young Award.
Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.
“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”
Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.
The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.