Justin Verlander‘s fourth strikeout of the night, on a Victor Robles foul tip in the second inning of World Series Game 2, marked the 200th in the veteran’s postseason career. It broke a tie with John Smoltz to set a new record for the most career postseason strikeouts. Andy Pettitte is third on the list at 183 followed by Roger Clemens at 173 and Clayton Kershaw at 170.
Verlander was against the ropes immediately, allowing the first three batters he faced in the first inning to reach base. Two scored, but Verlander was able to bounce back and escape the inning without any further damage. His second inning was much cleaner, working around only a one-out single.
Verlander entered Wednesday’s action with a career 3.26 ERA in the postseason across 176 2/3 innings. It’s his 30th postseason start and his sixth in the World Series.
At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.
Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.
The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.
At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).