Despite giving up a pair of two-run homers to Shelley Duncan in his six innings of work, Justin Verlander improved to 22-5 by beating the Indians in Detroit’s 8-6 victory on Wednesday.
The win was Verlander’s 10th in 10 starts. It’s the longest such streak with no losses or no decisions since Arizona’s Brandon Webb won 11 in a row from Sept. 22, 2007-May 15, 2008.
The longest streak since 2000 belongs to Johan Santana, who ran off 12 straight victories for the Twins from July 27-Sept. 24, 2004.
Verlander’s streak doesn’t quite measure up to Santana’s. Today’s was the third outing in the stretch in which he gave up four runs. He has a 2.75 ERA in his 10 wins (his ERA was actually lower back when he was 12-5). Santana had a 1.28 ERA during his streak, and Webb was at 2.58 during his.
Of course, Santana was just flat-out awesome the second half of 2004. Including his two starts against the Yankees in the postseason, he went 15-0 in a span of 18 starts and allowed just one run in each of the three no-decisions.
It’s clear now that Verlander is going to cruise to his first Cy Young Award, and he pretty obviously deserves it. He’s overtaken Jered Weaver for the AL lead in ERA at 2.44, leaving him slightly ahead of Weaver and Josh Beckett at 2.49. He already has the other two portions of the pitching triple crown pretty much locked up. He has three more wins than CC Sabathia in second place, and with eight strikeouts today, he’s 21 ahead of Sabathia and Felix Hernandez (232-211).
Allen Craig has been dreadful since the Red Sox acquired him from the Cardinals in the mid-2014 John Lackey trade, slashing .128/.234/.191 in 107 plate appearances last year and .152/.239/.203 in 88 plate appearances at the major league level this year.
Craig hasn’t been the same player since suffering a Lisfranc injury in 2013, and the 31-year-old first baseman and corner outfielder is still owed $20 million from a five-year, $31 million extension he signed with the Cardinals. So, yeah, the Red Sox would love to find a taker this winter, as new club president Dave Dombrowski told Tim Britton of the Providence Journal on Tuesday …
You don’t often hear an executive express that kind of thing publicly. It was former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington who brought Craig to Boston.
Cardinals starter John Lackey had a clean first inning in Game 4 of the NLDS on Tuesday afternoon at Wrigley Field, but Anthony Rizzo opened the bottom of the second a shift-beating single to the left side of the infield and then Starlin Castro reached on a fielder’s choice grounder to short. Kyle Schwarber came through with a single and Jason Hammel followed a Miguel Montero strikeout with a two-out, run-scoring liner up the middle.
Enter young shortstop prospect Javier Baez, who’s filling in for the injured Addison Russell in Game 4 as the Cubs try to advance to the NLCS …
Opposite field. Wind-aided, sure, but it probably didn’t need the wind anyway. What a shot.
Chicago leads the visiting Cardinals 4-2 as the sixth inning gets underway at Wrigley.
Mets infielder Juan Uribe has been sidelined since late September with a chest injury and it sounds like he won’t be available for the NLCS if New York advances.
Mets manager Terry Collins told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York that Uribe has yet to resume baseball activities and continues to experience discomfort.
Uribe was a useful late-July pickup for the Mets and hit .253 with 14 homers and a .737 OPS in 119 total games for three different teams this season, but his postseason role would be pretty limited even if he were healthy.