Justin Verlander to start Game 5 2022 World Series

PHILADELPHIA — The accomplishments that Justin Verlander has accumulated since being traded to the Astros in the final seconds before the 2017 Trade Deadline are enough to fill a role for most pitchers. Never mind that he had a great 12-year career in Detroit before coming to Houston.

Since stepping on the Astros jersey, Verlander has won a World Series, won his second American League Cy Young Award (and will likely win his third this year), and hit his third career no-hitter, over 3,000 strikeouts, and 2017. ALCS Most Valuable Player. What’s missing from his resume is a World Series victory, something he can fix in his Game 5 start on Thursday against the Phillies. He has big shoes to fill, as Houston pitched the second-most shutouts in World Series history en route to beating Philadelphia, 5-0, in Game 4. Tied the series, 2-2.

With his contract expiring at the end of the season and Verlander potentially opting out of his $25 million contract through 2023, his Game 5 start was his last in a Houston uniform. He’ll be 40 on Opening Day next year, but the free agent market should be strong for his services coming off one of his best seasons.

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“Honestly, it’s a hell of a ride no matter what happens, whether I stay or not,” Verlander said. “I really enjoyed this group of guys and the city and getting to know the city. And it was truly a blessing and a wonderful moment in my career. So I’m trying not to think about it. I’m trying to be present. A lot has been said about this year and I’m just trying to stay in the moment and stay positive to ride.

In eight World Series starts, Verlander is 0-6 with a 6.07 ERA. He raced out to a 5-0 lead in the first game of the World Series on Friday, but was unable to protect the lead. He gave up five runs on six hits and two walks over five innings, and the Phillies cruised to a 6-5 win in 10 innings.

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“I found some mechanical stuff that I had to clean up,” Verlander said. “I’ve worked really hard since then. But there’s no way to know how it’s going to go until you get to the game and see the players’ reactions. Then you will work hard. When you do that, you’ll see what it looks like — ‘Are you getting the results you want?’ — then you go into the game and hope that’s it.”

Verlander has battled some mechanical issues in the lower half of his body since returning from a brief stint on the injured list with a calf injury. He’s 3-1 with a 3.55 ERA in seven starts (season and postseason) since returning and says he wasn’t as good as he was before the injury. .

“But all I can do is try to prepare the best I can,” Verlander said. “Whether it’s a gift or not, when you’ve had a couple of early starts and it’s not very sharp, you look at why that is.” … But going back to the beginning of my engineering career, I was very busy. So, for me, that played a part in it.

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Depending on what happens in Game 4, Verlander may be trying to save the Astros’ season when he started Game 5. He’s struggled in pressure situations before and said that he did not intend to change his plan of attack in light of the situation.

“The strategy is a little different [in the postseason],” Verlander said, “that at times, if the timing is a bit low or the pitch count is high or whatever, you can try to rub it in. pitch count and make a few pitches here or there that you can think of. you can publish quickly. But in the playoffs, you can’t risk a run or two with those kinds of pitches. So it’s a different strategy, but I don’t think it’s going to change based on where we are in the series.


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