Astros starter Justin Verlander became the 33rd pitcher to join the 2,500-strikeout club on Wednesday evening against the Angels, fanning Shohei Ohtani to lead off the ninth inning. It was his seventh and final strikeout of the evening. Verlander then polished off a shutout, giving up just five hits and a walk on 118 pitches.
CC Sabathia leads all active pitchers with 2,874 strikeouts. Verlander is next, followed by Bartolo Colon with 2,483, who should become the 34rd member of the club soon. Felix Hernandez, Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels, Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, James Shields, and Jon Lester all also have over 2,000 career strikeouts.
Verlander, 35, has been among baseball’s best pitchers this season. After Wednesday’s start, he leads the majors with a 1.05 ERA along with an 84/14 K/BB ratio in 68 2/3 innings. His current 32.8 percent strikeout rate would be a career-high and his 5.5 percent walk rate would be a career-low. So he’s having a pretty good season.
Bad news for the Cubs’ Yu Darvish: The right-hander is headed back to the disabled list with right triceps tendinitis, the team announced Saturday. It’s the second such assignment for Darvish this season, but the first time he’s been sidelined with arm issues. Neither the severity of his injury nor a concrete timeframe for his recovery has been revealed yet, but the move is retroactive to May 23 and will allow him to come off the DL by June 2, assuming all goes well.
Prior to the injury, Darvish went 1-3 in eight starts with a 4.95 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 through 40 innings. Needless to say, these aren’t the kind of results the Cubs were hoping to see after inking the righty to a six-year, $126 million contract back in February, though the circumstances affecting his performances appear to have largely been out of his control. He missed a start in early May after coming down with the flu and has struggled to pitch beyond the fifth inning in five of his eight starts to date.
The Cubs recalled left-hander Randy Rosario from Triple-A Iowa in a corresponding move. Rosario has yet to amass more than five career innings in the majors, but has impressed at Triple-A so far this year: he maintained an 0.97 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 6.1 SO/9 through 19 1/3 innings in 2018. As for Darvish’s next scheduled turn in the rotation, Tyler Chatwood is lined up to take the mound when the Cubs face off against the Giants in the series finale on Sunday. A starter for Monday night’s game has yet to be determined.