Shin-Soo Choo waved the white flag during Nomar Mazara‘s at-bat on Saturday afternoon. With the Rangers down 3-1 in the seventh inning, Mazara lashed a particularly deadly foul ball off of the Nationals’ Matt Albers, sending it hurtling into the visitors dugout and ripping a sizable gash in the wall. The ball nearly struck Choo, who leapt off of the bench and waved his towel in surrender as Mazara finished his strikeout:
Thankfully, it didn’t look like either player was fazed by the incident. In the ninth, both Choo and Mazara returned to the plate to send the game to extras with a solo home run and RBI double, respectively. Robinson Chirinos secured the win with a three-RBI, 358-foot homer off of Shawn Kelley in the 11th inning.
Astros starter Justin Verlander was voted by the Baseball Writers Association of America as the 2019 American League Cy Young Award winner. Teammate Gerrit Cole finished in a close second place at 159 points. Charlie Morton finished third at 75 points, Shane Bieber fourth at 64, Lance Lynn fifth at 18, Eduardo Rodríguez and Lucas Giolito sixth at eight, and Mike Minor eighth at seven.
Verlander, 36, won the AL Cy Young Award (and AL MVP Award) in 2011 with the Tigers). He and Cole became the first pair of teammates to finish first and second on the ballot for the AL Cy Young Award. Four NL teammates accomplished the feat: Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in 2001 and ’02, Don Newcomb and Sal Maglie in 1956, and Mike Marshall and Andy Messersmith in 1974.
During the regular season, Verlander led all starting pitchers in wins (21), games started (34), innings pitched (223), and WHIP (0.803). He also compiled a 2.58 ERA with a 300/42 K/BB ratio. Along with a 300-strikeout season, Verlander achieved other milestones, including reaching 3,000 strikeouts for his career and 200 career postseason strikeouts (an all-time record).
2019 was not without controversy for Verlander, a future Hall of Famer, as he had a well-publicized disagreement with Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. He tried to have Fenech barred from the clubhouse during media availability despite the collective bargaining agreement ensuring access to BBWAA-credentialed reporters. It was one of many Astros-related scandals in 2019.
Verlander is the first Astro to win the Cy Young Award since Dallas Keuchel in 2015. Roger Clemens (2004) and Mike Scott (1986) also won the award back when the Astros were in the National League.