HOUSTON – After the Washington Nationals got to Houston Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole in Game 1 of the World Series, the Astros turn to former ODU ace Justin Verlander for the team’s first win of the series.
“I think they have a really good mix,” Verlander said about Washington’s rotation. “They have speed, they have power, they have patience, they have plate coverage. They present a lot of challenges for a starting pitcher, especially when you got to get them out more than one time, in multiple ways, and obviously those two guys in the middle have carried them thus far, tough outs.”
During the 2019 season, Verlander, who became the 18th pitcher in Major League Baseball history to reach the 3,000 strikeouts mark, led the MLB in games started (34), innings pitched (223), wins (21) and WHIP (0.803). He also led the American League in strikeout-to-walk ratio, averaging 7.1.
The only pitcher in the MLB with a strikeout-to-walk ratio better than Verlander’s was Max Scherzer (7.4), who started for the Nats in their Game 1 victory.
Verlander has made 29 postseason appearances, accumulating a 3.26 ERA, 196 strikeouts and a 14-9 record. Despite making five World Series starts in his career, he still expects plenty of nerves when he takes the mound Wednesday night.
“I think at this point my family and I are accustomed to what goes on in the playoffs,” Verlander said. “I’m gonna be in my own world and just kinda do my own thing, and be in my routine as much as possible.
“You know that the nerves are gonna be higher. Your body knows it’s not a regular start. Going to sleep tonight’s not gonna be the same as normal, but having done it before I don’t know if it helps. It’s definitely not gonna calm you down any more, but I know what to expect going into it, and having a routine does definitely help, ‘cuz it’s like, from the minute I wake up I kinda start my routine and I guess that kinda helps calm the nerves.”
Game 2 of the 2019 World Series will be played Wednesday night in Houston. First pitch is set for 8:08 p.m.