Houston Astros, MLB Postseason

Justin Verlander can’t buy a break in the World Series

Justin Verlander’s struggles in World Series games continue, as he loses yet another Fall Classic start, this time in a potential Series clincher in Game 6.

Justin Verlander has everything. He’s an eight-time MLB All-Star, a five-time AL strikeout leader and a three-time MLB wins leader. He’s pitched three no-hitters, won the Triple Crown in 2011 and is a member of the elusive 3,000 strikeout club. He’s won AL Rookie of the Year in 2006, won a World Series in 2017 and is married to Kate Upton. Verlander wins so much, it’s almost unfair.

As soon as he’s eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Verlander will be inducted into Cooperstown as one of the greatest right-handed pitchers of his generation. This guy has done everything on a Major League pitcher’s mound. That is, except for one very key thing: He cannot win a World Series game for the life of him.

After seeing his Astros fall 7-2 in Game 6 of the 2019 World Series, Verlander is now winless in eight World Series starts in his Hall-of-Fame career. He has pitched in four World Series to date: 2006 and 2012 with the Detroit Tigers and 2017 and 2019 with the Astros. Though he won a ring the third time around two years ago, that came without a World Series victory for the man.

No, it’s not entirely his fault. The poor guy can’t get any run support in his Fall Classic starts, receiving two or fewer runs in the octet of championship contests. Houston had no problem putting at least three runs across in all the games he didn’t start in this series.

Struggling in the Fall Classic isn’t going to ding his legacy as it does with Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers. We just want Verlander to not go 0-for-life in the World Series. He’s too good of a pitcher to not have a World Series victory on his résumé. We just thought it would have happened by now.

It’s not the end of the world, though. It has to be a pretty cool life to be Justin Verlander. Nobody denies your greatness. You’re going to be immortalized in Cooperstown. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get your number retired by the Tigers organization or something? Plus, you’re married to Kate Upton and you’re already a World Series champion. Those are two really good things, trust me.

But at the end of the day, Verlander will have to wait until 2020 at the very earliest to even think about getting his first World Series victory under his belt. His arm has to be exhausted after giving up homers all night at Minute Maid Park. There’s no way he’s pitching tomorrow. He’s not mad like 2014 Madison “MadBum” Bumgarner. But that’d be amazing if he was. It’s not happening, though.

Next: Pressure shifts to Astros, Zack Greinke in Game 7

For now, we can appreciate Verlander’s fine baseball career for what it is, instead of what it’s missing. He’ll wake up tomorrow the same way he did today as an outstanding pitcher without a single World Series win he’s responsible for. But should Zack Greinke outperform Max Scherzer in tomorrow night’s winner-take-all Game 7, Verlander will be a two-time World Series champion.

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