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.