With his fifth strikeout against the Phillies on Wednesday night, pitcher German Márquez set the Rockies’ new single-season strikeout record at 215. Ubaldo Jiménez previously held the record at 214, set in 2010.
Márquez, in fact, struck out the first eight Phillies he faced, also a Rockies record. He tied the major league record for consecutive strikeouts to start a game. The Astros’ Jim Deshaies struck out the first eight batters he faced on September 23, 1986 and the Mets’ Jacob deGrom did it on September 15, 2014. The streak ended when opposing pitcher Nick Pivetta hit a weak grounder to the left of the mound. Pivetta ended up reaching safely because Márquez’s throw to first base was poor.
The 23-year-old right-hander entered Wednesday’s start with a 13-10 record, a 3.91 ERA, and a 210/54 K/BB ratio in 184 1/3 innings. He and Kyle Freeland have been the backbone of the starting rotation throughout the year and the Rockies now find themselves just a half-game out of first place in the NL West with five games remaining.
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.