Houston Astros starter Justin Verlander has had a season for the ages.
Before taking the ball for Thursday’s start against the Baltimore Orioles, he has a 1.78 ERA in 157 frames, with 163 strikeouts, 17 wins and a 0.83 WHIP.
Take a minute to digest those numbers, and now consider the fact he is doing it after rehabbing from Tommy John surgery for the whole 2021 season and at 39 years old.
He has been quite impressive, and if it weren’t for the time he recently missed with a calf problem, he would probably be the favorite for the AL Cy Young award.
While he may not have enough innings for that anymore, he is still chasing history somehow.
— MLB (@MLB) September 22, 2022
If Verlander can shut out a couple of offenses in his last two starts of the regular season, he could overtake Pedro Martinez‘s 1.74 ERA in 2000 and become the pitcher with the lowest AL ERA in the Wild Card era (with a minimum of 150 innings).
Can Verlander Become The Single-Season ERA King Of The Wild Card Era?
Of course, Pedro did it in the middle of the steroids era, but that doesn’t have anything to do with Verlander.
For reference, the Wild Card era started in 1994, when MLB started to award a postseason spot for the best non-division winner of each league.
Then, in 2012, the number increased to two Wild Cards per league.
Now, since the 2022 campaign, we will have three Wild Cards in each league.
Can Verlander become the ERA king of the Wild Card era?
He will need two excellent performance to wrap up his season.
With some rest afforded by his recent calf injury, he is well-rested and ready to dominate.
He may very well achieve the feat.