We’ve mentioned before that Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander has made himself into the best pitcher in the American League this year. He just proved it again.
Verlander won his 20th game Saturday night in a 6-4 win over the Minnesota Twins. Though he didn’t have his best stuff, the big righty managed to last six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits, while walking three and striking out six. The Tigers’ bullpen preserved the lead for him, as he improved his record to 20-5 on the season.
By notching the victory, Verlander became the first pitcher to get his 20th win before September since Curt Schilling did it way back in 2002. That’s pretty impressive.
With a month to go in the season, Verlander has all but locked up the AL Cy Young race. He leads the majors in wins, strikeouts (218), innings (215.2), WHIP (0.90) and is third in ERA (2.38). So yeah, I’d say he pretty much has things locked up regardless of what he does in September.
Verlander is a huge part of the reason the Tigers are currently 6.5 games up in the AL Central. With a formidable offense (eighth in the MLB in runs with 592) and an ace that could single-handedly take over a series, Detroit will be a dangerous team in the playoffs.
Right now no one wants to face Verlander. As he proved on Saturday night, even when he doesn’t have his best stuff, he can get a win.