“Raines is probably the best base stealer in the history of Major League Baseball”

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I have been slightly worried about Joe Posnanski lately. He set off last summer to write what was supposed to be a feel-good book about a feel-good guy — Joe Paterno — and then everything exploded on him while he was doing interviews and research in State College, Pennsylvania.

Sometimes I get images of him trapped in some central Pennsylvania motel room, slowly going crazy. Or totally off the grid into some sheer harrowing existence like Christopher Walken in “The Deer Hunter.”  At the other end of all of that is either going to be a Pulitzer Prize winning book or Posnanski in a straight jacket. Can’t see much in between.

But today we have a sign that things are OK for Joe: a 4000+ word Hall of Fame column, done in a way that only he can do. Once again he brings order and sanity to the Jeff Bagwell thing. To the Alan Trammell/Barry Larkin thing.  He explains just how rare and special it is for players to be truly well-rounded. Bonus: he trots out that quote from the headline above to remind us just how damn good Tim Raines really was.

It’s all great stuff. And on a day when, once again, absolutely nothing seems to be happening in baseball at all, it’s not like you got anything better to do.

Justin Verlander earns 200th career win

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Astros starter Justin Verlander wasn’t his usual dominant self on Sunday against the Athletics, but he was good enough to get the win. In doing so, he earned the 200th win of his career, becoming the 117th member of the 200-win club.

Verlander went 5 1/3 innings, yielding four runs (all earned) on seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts. On the season, Verlander is now 12-8 with a 2.65 ERA and a 223/29 K/BB ratio in 169 2/3 innings. Sunday’s win helped the Astros stave off the surging A’s. The Astros now have a one-game lead in the AL West.

Only two active pitchers have more wins than Verlander: Bartolo Colon (247) and CC Sabathia (244). Zack Greinke will likely be the next member of the 200-win club as he currently has 184 to his name.