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).
CC Sabathia‘s contract with the Yankees expires after the 2017 season but the lefty feels that he has enough left in the tank to pitch in 2018 and beyond, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports.
Sabathia said, “I just know myself. I know I feel like it’s not my time yet. Barring any crazy injuries I know I can pitch past next year. I feel like this is just the beginning of what I’m trying to do. I feel like there’s a lot more still to learn and a lot better to get. It’s exciting.”
The 36-year-old lefty currently holds a 4.02 ERA and a 144/63 K/BB ratio in 172 1/3 innings. It’s his best and healthiest season since 2012. He battled a knee injury last season and checked into rehab for alcohol addiction last October. Sabathia said that being treated for his addiction put him “in a good spot.”
Sabathia is owed $25 million through a vesting option for the 2017 season.
The Red Sox can thank the Orioles for not having to fight to clinch the division on Thursday or later. The Orioles came from behind to defeat the Blue Jays 3-2 on Wednesday evening, clinching the AL East for the Red Sox.
A few minutes after that game went final, the Red Sox squandered a 3-0 lead taken in the eighth inning, culminating in a walk-off grand slam by Mark Teixeira in the bottom of the ninth inning. Closer Craig Kimbrel started the ninth, but didn’t have control over any of his pitches. He allowed a leadoff single followed by three consecutive walks to force in a run. Joe Kelly relieved Kimbrel and seemed to be close to wriggling out of the jam, getting Starlin Castro to strike out looking and Didi Gregorius to pop up. But after starting Teixeira with a first-pitch curve ball for a strike, Teixera clobbered a 99 MPH fastball, sending it over the fence in right-center to end the game.
For the Yankees, the come-from-behind victory was crucial as it staved off Wild Card elimination for one more day.
This is the first time the Red Sox have clinched the AL East since 2013, also the last year they won the World Series.