Justin Verlander throws 8 innings of shutout against Mariners

Justin Verlander throws 8 innings of shutout against Mariners

Justin Verlander throws 8 innings of shutout against Mariners

SEATTLE – There was no way Justin Verlander would come back from Tommy John’s surgery and be average. There was no chance he would grind and sweat and get over the doubts and pain to go back to the mound and be a shell of himself.

Verlander is built differently and even at 39 and possessing a Hall of Fame resume, he still has something to prove. If there were any cynics who believed he wouldn’t be able to get back into better shape than him, just check with the Seattle Mariners.

“It’s the dominant performance as you’ll see, and for a guy who’s been doing it in this league for a long, long time,” said Mariners manager Scott Servais.

Indeed. On his second start after missing last season, Verlander showed vintage dominance for the Astros by pitching eight goalless innings, knocking out eight batters and conceding three hits, in a 4-0 win over the Mariners at T-Mobile Field.

“I wouldn’t have done all the hard work if I didn’t think I could still pitch at a high level,” Verlander said. “But that said, it’s definitely rewarding to have that feeling of going out there again after a tough defeat [Friday] and being able to pick us up and go deep into the game and do what I expect to do most of the time.

Verlander won his first game since beating the Mariners on July 24, 2020, the opening day of the abbreviated season for COVID. He injured his arm during that match and attempted a comeback before undergoing surgery on the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow two months later.

Friday’s win was the 227th of Verlander’s career, during which he crossed the 3,000-innings mark when he finished the seventh inning. He is the 138th pitcher in AL / NL history to pitch 3,000 innings and joins former teammate Zack Greinke as the only active pitchers to reach that milestone.

“I still believe with all my heart that innings matter in the long pattern of things,” he said. “They are important in a 162-game season. If you’re able to go out there and throw over 200 innings, even if it’s not the most stellar of innings, that advantage to the bullpen is huge. Baseball lost it a little. It’s one of those things that’s hard to value in an analytic world. If you can’t value it, just poop. Those of us who have been following the game for a while know it’s something important. “

Astros receiver Martín Maldonado said he knew Verlander would have a great night from the first pitch he threw while warming up in the bullpen, saying he made his job “easy”. Verlander launched 87 launches, of which 64 for strikes. This included 19 strikes from the first pitch to the 27 batters he faced. He spawned 17 swings and misses.

“His ability to throw his fastball whenever he wanted it, where he wanted it, the ability to throw his curveball at any time, the slider at any time,” Maldonado said, “it was as if he didn’t. had ever gone. “

Verlander, who forfeited a five-innings run on his first start to the season a week earlier, was on 73 pitches in seven innings on Saturday. If the Astros had done a couple of runs in the eighth, his night was over. A quick attacking inning from Houston, however, allowed Verlander to stay warm on a cold night and get back out for a 1-2-3 eighth.

“When it turned out to be a fast inning, there wasn’t really much more conversation,” he said.

Verlander’s fastball life, which averaged 94.4 mph, was only part of the story. He positioned his slider well, which he did not do at the first start, and he mixed well on the left-handed corners. Simply put, the Mariners had no chance.

“I think it’s pretty obvious probably from the first, second inning that he had his stuff tonight,” said Mariners first baseman Ty France. “He’s been doing this for a long time, and you just have to raise your cap. It got the better of us tonight. “

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