Astros starter Justin Verlander became the 33rd pitcher to join the 2,500-strikeout club on Wednesday evening against the Angels, fanning Shohei Ohtani to lead off the ninth inning. It was his seventh and final strikeout of the evening. Verlander then polished off a shutout, giving up just five hits and a walk on 118 pitches.
CC Sabathia leads all active pitchers with 2,874 strikeouts. Verlander is next, followed by Bartolo Colon with 2,483, who should become the 34rd member of the club soon. Felix Hernandez, Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels, Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, James Shields, and Jon Lester all also have over 2,000 career strikeouts.
Verlander, 35, has been among baseball’s best pitchers this season. After Wednesday’s start, he leads the majors with a 1.05 ERA along with an 84/14 K/BB ratio in 68 2/3 innings. His current 32.8 percent strikeout rate would be a career-high and his 5.5 percent walk rate would be a career-low. So he’s having a pretty good season.