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Justin Verlander sets new career-high with 15 strikeouts

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Astros starter Justin Verlander set a new career-high on Wednesday, striking out 15 Brewers across seven innings. Surprisingly, Verlander had never struck out 15 batters in a game before. He struck out 14 on four different occasions, including twice last year.

The only other pitchers to have struck out at least 15 in a game this season are Chris Sale (17), Shane Bieber (15), and Max Scherzer (15).

Verlander served up three runs, all on solo homers (to Ryan Braun, Yasmani Grandal, and Eric Thames), accounting for three of the four hits he allowed. He walked none across his seven frames before giving way to the bullpen. The game went into extra innings tied at 3-3.

After Wednesday’s effort, Verlander holds a 2.50 ERA with 125 strikeouts and 19 walks in 100 2/3 innings on the season. With a month remaining, he is making a strong case to start the All-Star Game for the American League. However, Jake Odorizzi (1.92), Charlie Morton (2.10), and Lucas Giolito (2.28) have better ERAs at the moment.

Rockies, Trevor Story agree on two-year, $27.5 million contract

Trevor Story
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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Rockies and shortstop Trevor Story have come to terms on a two-year, $27.5 million deal, buying out his two remaining years of arbitration eligibility.

Story, 27, and the Rockies did not agree on a salary before the deadline earlier this month. Story filed for $11.5 million while the team countered at $10.75 million. The average annual value of this deal — $13.75 million — puts him a little bit ahead this year and likely a little bit behind next year.

This past season in Colorado, Story hit .294/.363/.554 with 35 home runs, 85 RBI, 111 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases over 656 trips to the plate. He also continued to rank among the game’s best defensive shortstops. Per FanGraphs, Story’s 10.9 Wins Above Replacement over the last two seasons is fifth-best among shortstops (min. 1,000 PA) behind Alex Bregman, Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and Marcus Semien.

With third baseman Nolan Arenado likely on his way out via trade, one wonders if the same fate awaits Story at some point over the next two seasons.