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Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will go down as one of the best regular season pitchers of this generation. But when it comes to the World Series, Verlander’s brilliance vanishes– in fact, this year, he’s the perfect opposite of Washington’s Stephen Strasburg, who’s now an amazing 5-0 in the 2019 playoffs following his team’s 7-2 victory in Game 6.
The American League Cy Young contender had the chance to flip the script Tuesday night and wipe away the L he took in Game 2 up against Strasburg. However, much like Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, JV added to the misery by surrendering three runs on five hits (two solo home runs) in five innings pitched against the Washington Nationals.
Stephen Strasburg of the @Nationals is the first pitcher to toss at least 8.0 innings on the road when facing elimination in the #WorldSeries since the Royals’ Danny Jackson threw a CG in 1985 Game 5 at St. Louis.#STAYINTHEFIGHT
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) October 30, 2019
His counterpart in a Washington uniform? He went 8.1 innings and gave up just two earned on five hits, striking out seven.
Verlander’s postseason simply continues, and at the absolute worst time. In seven World Series appearances between Houston and Detroit, he now owns an unsightly 5.68 ERA and an 0-5 record.
Justin Verlander career #WorldSeries stats:
38 IP, 5.68 ERA, 1.290 WHIP, 0-5 W-L (currently in line for 6th L tonight) pic.twitter.com/Ar4BIdviSm
— Baseball Reference (@baseball_ref) October 30, 2019
Unlike Kershaw, in the ALDS and ALCS, Verlander’s regular season stuff shows up, much to the dismay of his opposition. But once it comes to the Fall Classic, Verlander struggles mightily, and nobody has an idea why.
Strasburg has had no such issues this year in the Nationals’ first-ever trip to the Series.
Stephen Strasburg, 94mph Fastball and 87mph Changeup, Overlay.
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 30, 2019
While Justin Verlander is bound to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame one day, the dark cloud surrounding his career will be his World Series struggles. And his disappearance in the clutch, juxtaposed with the Nats pitching staff’s incredible showings, is the most powerful narrative of this series.