Justin Verlander has a chance to join a very exclusive club this weekend. The Houston Astros ace is just 11 strikeouts away from becoming the 18th player in Major League Baseball history to reach 3,000 Ks. The only other active member of the club is New York Yankees hurler CC Sabathia, who surpassed 3,000 strikeouts April 30 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
BetAmerica is offering +200 Super Odds that Verlander will achieve the milestone Sunday, when he takes the mound at home against the Los Angeles Angels. L.A. is far from a formidable foe, but it could be a bumpy affair, as the former Cy Young winner is just 1-1 with a lofty 5.40 ERA in two starts against the Halos this season. Verlander won his first outing against L.A. May 5, but allowed four earned runs in seven innings in his follow-up effort July 5.
— AT&T SportsNet SW (@ATTSportsNetSW) July 6, 2019
Although Verlander has been uneven against the Angels, he has been rolling against the rest of the American League lately. He began September with the third no-hitter of his career in a brilliant start against the overmatched Blue Jays. The 36-year-old retired 26 batters in a row to become just the sixth pitcher ever to record three no-nos.
– 120 pitches
– 14 strikouts
– 3rd career no-hitter
— Stadium (@Stadium) September 1, 2019
Verlander is 3-1 with a 1.29 ERA this month and is coming off a strong performance against the Texas Rangers, in which he scattered four hits over six innings and struck out eight. The eight-time All-Star has struck out 11 batters or more 12 times this season, including twice in September.
So, will Verlander reach 3,000 strikeouts Sunday? Eleven Ks is a high total for a pitcher who is just trying to stay healthy entering the playoffs, but it certainly isn’t out of reach. Verlander has a strong sense of his place in baseball history and understands how this milestone will cement his legacy. He also knows he can gain a little separation from teammate Gerrit Cole and wrap up his second Cy Young Award with one more signature game. Expect him to be extra motivated when he takes the bump Sunday.