Justin Verlander
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Justin Verlander reaches auspicious career milestone with 200th strikeout

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How good is Justin Verlander? So good that, after expending 29 pitches through the first two innings of Sunday’s series finale, he had racked up four strikeouts against the Mariners and pushed his 2019 total to 200 strikeouts. So good that, in fact, this is the ninth time he’s done so over the course of his 15-year career.

It’s been another sterling year for the 36-year-old All-Star. Prior to his most recent start, he boasted a league-leading 14-4 record in 23 starts with an AL-best 2.73 ERA, 1.7 BB/9, 11.6 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR across 151 2/3 innings. And Sunday’s accomplishment — one to which he tacked on another four strikeouts over four scoreless innings — follows an even more impressive performance by the Astros, as Aaron Sanchez, Will Harris, Joe Biagini, and Chris Devenski combined for a no-hitter against the Mariners on Saturday.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Verlander’s nine 200-strikeout seasons places him among some rare and talented company. He’s just the seventh pitcher in MLB history with such a record, joining the likes of Nolan Ryan (15), Randy Johnson (13), Roger Clemens (12), Tom Seaver (10), Pedro Martínez (9), and Bob Gibson (9). Behind Verlander, the only two active pitchers approaching his record are the Nationals’ Max Scherzer and Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, each with seven 200+ strikeout seasons under their belts.

Marlins sign Brandon Kintzler to one-year, $3.25 million deal

Brandon Kintzler
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Jon Morosi reported on Saturday that the Marlins signed veteran reliever Brandon Kintzler to a one-year contract worth $3.25 million. The deal includes a club option for 2020 worth $4 million with a $250,000 buyout, according to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers.

Kintzler, 35, put up a terrific 2.68 ERA with 48 strikeouts and 13 walks over 57 innings for the Cubs last season. He’s been mostly good in recent years, but relievers in their mid-30’s have had a tough time finding multi-year deals.

The Marlins have a handful of players who could rack up saves this coming season, namely Drew Steckenrider and José Ureña along with Kintzler. The club will likely use spring training to determine an official closer, if they name one at all. The Marlins have also expressed interest in free agent Pedro Strop.