My Favorite Wife: The Justin Verlander Thread

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Every player headed for the HOF deserves his own thread. Go make a Robinson Cano thread, someone.

Verlander's turnaround seems real. Or if you simply look at 2014 as a blip, he never really went away. He's now 7-0 with Houston, 32 hits in 60.2 innings, 77 K against 10 BB (not counting the postseason). For his career, he's in the neighborhood of Halladay.

Verlander: 190-114, 3.44, 1.179 WHIP, 3.16 K/BB, 124 ERA+
Halladay: 203-105, 3.38, 1.178 WHIP, 3.58 K/BB, 131 ERA+

Clear advantage Halladay, and it's doubtful Verlander's career rate states are going to end up better than where they are now. But if he stays relatively strong for another two or three seasons, Verlander's HOF resume will be solid.

clemenza, Monday, 16 April 2018 11:26 (four years ago) link

Icky old-school appreciation:

"The ace starter, the workhorse, the guy who can lift a team on his back and carry it across the finish line -- one-name guys like Gibson, Unit, Rocket, Koufax, Verlander -- these are the legends of the game."

Three surnames and two nicknames. I don't think he really understands the "one-name" concept.

clemenza, Monday, 16 April 2018 11:45 (four years ago) link

incredible game last night yet overshadowed (ahem) by Big Bart

thots and players (rip van wanko), Monday, 16 April 2018 11:55 (four years ago) link

They had exactly the same Game Score: 86.

clemenza, Monday, 16 April 2018 12:06 (four years ago) link

xxp Oh yes, the famous one-word nickname, Unit

francisF, Monday, 16 April 2018 15:56 (four years ago) link

He understands half the concept. If you say Elvis, Marilyn, Jackie, Beyonce, or LeBron, I know who you're talking about. And, it's true, if you say Koufax, I know you mean Sandy Koufax the baseball player, and not certified accountant Fred Koufax from Lansing, Michigan.

clemenza, Monday, 16 April 2018 16:30 (four years ago) link

I don't understand the thread title!

Van Horn Street, Monday, 16 April 2018 23:23 (four years ago) link

I think it's worth remembering that the Tigers had Scherzer, Verlander and Price (and Porcello) in their rotation at one point.

Van Horn Street, Monday, 16 April 2018 23:27 (four years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Almost up to 150 IP with the Astros--better right now than in 2011.

clemenza, Wednesday, 2 May 2018 14:32 (four years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Justin Verlander Breaking Ohtani's Ankles with an 88 mph Slider. 🤢

Pitcher-on-Half-Pitcher Crime. 👮‍♂️🚨🚔

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 17, 2018

na (NA), Thursday, 17 May 2018 19:12 (four years ago) link

gonna need that gif'ed pronto

na (NA), Thursday, 17 May 2018 19:14 (four years ago) link

i think ohtani got away with the check swing?

mookieproof, Thursday, 17 May 2018 19:29 (four years ago) link

Every player headed for the HOF deserves his own thread. Go make a Robinson Cano thread, someone.

sigh, it was a simpler time...

reggae mike love (polyphonic), Thursday, 17 May 2018 19:46 (four years ago) link

Another strong start. Puzzling pitch count, though: 111 over 6.2 innings, but low hits (5), walks (0), and strikeouts (5). A lot of foul balls, I guess.

clemenza, Tuesday, 29 May 2018 02:22 (four years ago) link

one month passes...

Four homers surrendered to the Tigers, the least-homering team in MLB.


Andy K, Sunday, 15 July 2018 21:27 (four years ago) link

two months pass...

Justin Verlander just compared himself to Dory of 'Finding Nemo': "Keep swimming. Just keep pitching."

— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) October 12, 2018

mookieproof, Friday, 12 October 2018 20:20 (three years ago) link

Posnanski has Verlander #92 on his 100-greatest countdown (and managed to sneak in a photo of he and Kate Upton engaging in a little no-you're-schmoopy).

clemenza, Saturday, 13 October 2018 19:10 (three years ago) link

six months pass...

I noticed Verlander is 27-10 with the Astros, which is the same record as Carlton in '72 (famously, with the last-place Phillies). A comparison:

Carlton             Verlander

IP: 346.1 305.1
H: 257 216
K: 310 401
BB: 87 56
HR: 17 42
ERA: 1.97 2.36

Huge advantage for Carlton in HR; huge advantage for Verlander in strikeouts. After you make all the adjustments for era, park, etc., Carlton's WAR was 12.1, Verlander's 10.0--he's basically (with a World Series winner, yes, rather than a last-place team) put together Steve Carlton's 1972 over two seasons.

clemenza, Sunday, 12 May 2019 13:20 (three years ago) link

A little Monday-morning quarterbacking here, but what exactly was it that gave Verlander such pause about going to the Astros? Was it all the young talent and playing for a potential dynasty that he was worried about?

clemenza, Wednesday, 22 May 2019 18:15 (three years ago) link

2800 strikeouts

mookieproof, Sunday, 26 May 2019 19:26 (three years ago) link

two months pass...

He went off on Manfred and the baseball a few weeks ago. Something from Posnanski this morning:

Back to Verlander: He has now allowed 31 home runs this year — an astounding 1.64 homers per nine innings. He also has a 2.81 ERA. These two things happening concurrently does not compute. Here are the best ERAs for pitchers who have allowed 1.6 or more homers per nine innings:

1. Justin Verlander, 2019, 2.81
2. Mike Fiers, 2018, 3.56
3. Ramon Ortiz, 2002, 3.77
4. A.J. Griffin, 2013, 3.83
5. Bert Blyleven, 1986, 4.01

From 2005-15, Verlander's HR/9 rate was 0.8 (ERA, 3.52); 2016-18, 1.2 (ERA, 2.97); this year, 1.6 (ERA, 2.81). That's bizarre.

clemenza, Saturday, 17 August 2019 13:41 (two years ago) link

He's given up three in a game four times this year.

Obviously...he's leading the league in WHIP!

When he pitched for Detroit, it used to be way more doubles than home runs but the numbers have gotten closer since he was traded and this year it's 31 HR, 23 2B.

timellison, Saturday, 17 August 2019 16:41 (two years ago) link

tbf, houston's a more homeriffic park than detroit

(and also the ball is juiced)

mookieproof, Saturday, 17 August 2019 20:52 (two years ago) link

Taking this weirdness to the next level: complete game two-hitter, 11 strikeouts, no walks, 99 pitches...both hits HR, loses 2-1.

clemenza, Thursday, 22 August 2019 02:38 (two years ago) link

didnt throw a single pitch w a runner on base

johnny crunch, Thursday, 22 August 2019 02:53 (two years ago) link

That is an insane all time loss.

earlnash, Thursday, 22 August 2019 03:46 (two years ago) link

According to sports betting sites, it was the biggest single game upset in 15 years.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Thursday, 22 August 2019 06:08 (two years ago) link

I noticed this weird headline last night on The Detroit Free Press (slightly altered this morning): "Vintage Verlander pitches Tigers to 2-1 victory in Houston." Maybe that's behind this unfortunate story:

Just what baseball needs, a shot of Donald Trump.

clemenza, Thursday, 22 August 2019 14:32 (two years ago) link

The Tigers beat Justin Verlander again. They continue to win the trade.

— anthony fenech (@anthonyfenech) August 22, 2019

Andy K, Thursday, 22 August 2019 14:56 (two years ago) link

five months pass...

lol this guy should really stop talking

brimstead, Saturday, 15 February 2020 18:41 (two years ago) link

one month passes...

Whatever you think of him, that's great.

clemenza, Sunday, 5 April 2020 00:24 (two years ago) link

five months pass...

Tommy John

Andy K, Saturday, 19 September 2020 17:30 (one year ago) link

Worth it financially: set to make $33M next year. Is it worth it beyond that? His HOF induction is a lock, he plays for a despised team, and I'll stop there.

clemenza, Saturday, 19 September 2020 19:08 (one year ago) link

Re the HOF: while he benefitted in terms of run support and probably a few extra wins, I assume the sign-stealing doesn't stick to Verlander the way it will with Altuve or any other hitter.

clemenza, Saturday, 19 September 2020 19:15 (one year ago) link

He probably won’t be back until the last month of next season. And he’ll be going on 40 in the 2022 season. If he’d been mediocre I could see him hanging it up, but I feel like he’s got to feel like he has a few years left in him.

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Saturday, 19 September 2020 19:18 (one year ago) link

has anyone else had TJ at age 37?

mookieproof, Saturday, 19 September 2020 21:17 (one year ago) link

Moyer had it at like 47!

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Saturday, 19 September 2020 22:15 (one year ago) link

I've no doubt he'd still be effective at 40, I'm just not sure why he'd push himself to get there (beyond the obvious incentive of the big payday...I'm so clueless about contracts; I assume he forfeits the money if he were to retire?).

clemenza, Sunday, 20 September 2020 01:14 (one year ago) link

Yup. But if he w aged to retire I’m sure the team could work with him to renegotiate since they’d want to avoid paying that full salary (opting to defer likely) while he’s hurt.

But I totally get why someone would want to keep playing baseball as long as possible. A) you’re playing baseball. B) it’s all you know, life after any career can be scary. C) you’re playing baseball!!! Who wouldn’t want to play ball as long as possible?!

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Sunday, 20 September 2020 01:20 (one year ago) link

most successful big leaguers are insanely competitive; i'm sure he's no different

mookieproof, Sunday, 20 September 2020 01:28 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

pretty remarkable season, at 39, coming off TJ

12-3, 1.89, 0.88 WHIP, just passed schilling and gibson for 14th on the all-time K list

mookieproof, Sunday, 17 July 2022 01:24 (three weeks ago) link

didn't know he was still pitching tbh. that's amazing.

call all destroyer, Sunday, 17 July 2022 01:32 (three weeks ago) link

Posnaski had a shareable piece two weeks ago about his chances for 300 wins:

62 more wins would seem almost impossible to me, unless he is indeed Randy Johnson (or a chemically-assisted Roger Clemens).

clemenza, Sunday, 17 July 2022 01:40 (three weeks ago) link

He is honestly incredible

Love that Kershaw is still doing it too

, Sunday, 17 July 2022 01:48 (three weeks ago) link

Pos' stats are a bit misleading -- Randy Johnson had 75 wins from his age 39 season onward.

Verlander's FIP is over 3.00, but most pitchers need a year to return to form after TJ, so he might be getting better.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Sunday, 17 July 2022 12:12 (three weeks ago) link

Another great start today: now 13-3 (yes, yes, I know), 1.86 ERA, the usual excellent rate stats. Gotta be one the half-dozen greatest years ever for a 39-year-old starter (post-war, anyway). But he'd lose the Cy Young to McClanahan.

(Manoah pitched well today too, and he's hanging on. But unless both those guys get shelled a couple of times, he's got no chance.)

clemenza, Saturday, 23 July 2022 23:15 (two weeks ago) link

Or maybe the best-ever for a 39-year-old starter. Checked Randy Johnson (hurt) and Clemens (so-so), and beyond them, who else would there be? Even Cy Young (so-so), Walter Johnson (last season, hanging on), and Christy Mathewson (three years into retirement) don't rate.

clemenza, Saturday, 23 July 2022 23:19 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah, Clemens was so-so in his age 39 season, but won the Cy at age 41 and posted a sub-2.00 ERA the year after. Narrowing the search down to a specific age is a bit misleading.

Even so, Phil Niekro had a 10.0 WAR season at age 39 (he was very good and pitched over 300 innings), Wainwright was great just last year. I'm sure there are others.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Sunday, 24 July 2022 09:40 (two weeks ago) link

Clemens was so-so in his age 39 season, but won the Cy at age 41 and posted a sub-2.00 ERA the year after.

just astonishing. for a power pitcher to last that long, and be that good, at that age - incredible. i don’t care how many drugs he took, it’s still extraordinary.

Tracer Hand, Sunday, 24 July 2022 14:18 (two weeks ago) link

For that same reason, I kind of put Niekro (and Hough, who led the league in IP at 39 with 285, and was pretty effective in a hitter's year) in a separate category.

clemenza, Sunday, 24 July 2022 14:39 (two weeks ago) link

check out nolan ryan's age 40, 42, and 43 seasons, particularly 1989, when he was 42:

239 IP, 16W-10L, 11.32 K/9, 3.69 BB/9, 3.20 ERA, 2.51 FIP, 7.0 fWAR

his competition for best pitcher in the AL in 1989 was a pair of royals, Saberhagen and Mark Gubicza, both of whom struck about half as many as people but also gave up fewer walks and home runs.

Bruce Stingbean (Karl Malone), Sunday, 24 July 2022 15:03 (two weeks ago) link

Embarrassed that I forgot to check Ryan. How about Warren Spahn at 42?

23-7, 2.60, 259.2 IP, 22 CG (different time, I know--1963--but still, 42!). His age-41 season was better by WAR.

clemenza, Sunday, 24 July 2022 16:18 (two weeks ago) link

'63 was also the year that Spahn and Marichal hooked up for this:

15.1 innings, 1 run, against a lineup that 1-5 went Harvey Kuenn, Mays, McCovey, Felipe Alou, and Cepeda.

clemenza, Sunday, 24 July 2022 16:21 (two weeks ago) link

i didn't realize Spahn pitched into his 40s, let alone so well! i guess i should have figured by his 363 wins, which is one of those numbers seared into my brain even as i've forgotten so many other things

Bruce Stingbean (Karl Malone), Sunday, 24 July 2022 16:25 (two weeks ago) link

while we're doing rando old pitcher tidbits, as i was scanning the internet to look for good old pitchers i ran across good 45-year-old charlie hough throwing the opening day / opening franchise game for the florida marlins in 1993! hough toughed it out for 200+ innings that year, which i find impressive given that i'm 39 and when i bend down to tie my shoes i usually give a heavy grunt and take lord's name in vain

Bruce Stingbean (Karl Malone), Sunday, 24 July 2022 16:27 (two weeks ago) link

A couple of excellent 40-year-old seasons: Jamie Moyer and Bartolo Colon.

clemenza, Sunday, 24 July 2022 16:32 (two weeks ago) link

final rando aside, sorry:

if i could go back in time and try to be a pro baseball player again (I topped out at age 13), but have to deal with the same constraints (my ISO is 0.00; all of my skills are like "mini" versions of what larger people can do), i would appear out of nowhere to myself and say "hey squirt! hey lil fucker! you're done for. you cannot be ozzie smith. instead, you must learn how to throw a knuckleball. a knuckleball specialist is like a placekicker - a wild card, the only possible way that lil squirts can possibly be useful to a professional team. also, don't worry about hannah not liking you back -- she ends up being a meth head. ok good luck! also, don't go to college!" *poof*

Bruce Stingbean (Karl Malone), Sunday, 24 July 2022 16:35 (two weeks ago) link

haha great asides, Karl

haha, glad it's not a threadender at least :)

Bruce Stingbean (Karl Malone), Sunday, 24 July 2022 18:55 (two weeks ago) link

Another random great age 39 season from a guy who pitched forever: Hoyt Wilhelm in 1962, in 93 innings of relief he posted a 1.94 ERA (192 ERA+) and 90 K's in 93 IP (8.7 K/9 IP). His rate stats wouldn't look out of place in a discussion of the best relievers of today, except that the league average was 5.3 K/9 IP. So he was a 39 year old reliever with a sub-2.00 ERA striking out the equivalent of about 14 K/IP today. And he remained good for another six or seven years!

NoTimeBeforeTime, Monday, 25 July 2022 07:59 (two weeks ago) link

14 K/IP

should be 14 K/9 IP, obviously

NoTimeBeforeTime, Monday, 25 July 2022 08:00 (two weeks ago) link

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