Long-awaited first win in World Series 'a heck of a grind' for Verlander

By Sports Desk November 04, 2022

Justin Verlander was relieved his work since his Game 1 start was rewarded with a belated first World Series win on Thursday – even if it was still "a heck of a grind".

Verlander pitched five innings in the Houston Astros' 3-2 Game 5 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, giving them a 3-2 series lead.

The nine-time All-Star won the World Series with the Astros in 2017, yet he finished the series against the Los Angeles Dodgers with an 0-1 record.

Verlander did start the Game 2 win versus the Dodgers, but team-mate Chris Devenski was the winning pitcher as the Astros rescued an 11-inning victory.

Heading into Thursday's meeting with the Phillies, Verlander was 0-6 through eight starts in the World Series for his career.

His latest frustration on baseball's biggest stage had seen him depart a Game 1 defeat at 5-5 after five innings.

But Verlander made amends this time, securing a 2-1 lead as he only allowed a Kyle Schwarber leadoff home run from four hits, setting up Ryan Pressly – who closed out a combined no-hitter in Game 4 – to complete the job.

Speaking to MLB Network afterwards, Verlander said he "went back to the drawing board" following his previous start and made the most of the delay in the series after Game 3 was postponed.

"Honestly, the extra day helped me," the 39-year-old said.

"I was able to throw an extra bullpen [because] we got rained out; I threw two bullpens in a row, and I knew I had a lot of work to do. It wasn't easy adjustments, so I needed as many reps as I could.

"After the first few sliders I threw tonight, I was like, 'oh, thank goodness'."

Asked for his thoughts on the long-awaited breakthrough win, Verlander replied: "I don't even know, man. I don't think it's set in yet.

"What an incredible game, first of all. This win, much like most of the wins in my career, doesn't happen without the guys who came in behind me – I only went five innings.

"It was a heck of a grind, especially the first three innings. These guys had a great game plan. After last night, I felt like they completely changed their game plan, were trying to get on top of heaters.

"Thank goodness my slider and curveball clicked, and I was able to lean on those a little bit in the latter half of my outing."

Related items

  • Snitker signs contract extension with Braves through to 2025 Snitker signs contract extension with Braves through to 2025

    Atlanta Braves general manager Brian Snitker has signed a three-year contract extension through the 2025 season with the 2021 World Series champions.

    Snitker, who has been in the role since 2016, has guided the Braves to five consecutive National League (NL) East titles, highlighted by their 2021 World Series.

    The 67-year-old Braves boss led the side to a 101-61 regular-season record in 2022, before bowing out to the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL Division Series.

    Snitker has a 542-451 managerial record, but is the first manager in franchise history to lead the Braves to five post seasons in his first six seasons. He won the 2018 NL Manager of the Year.

  • Milan reveal Rossoneri board role for New York Yankees president Milan reveal Rossoneri board role for New York Yankees president

    New York Yankees president Randy Levine has joined the board of Serie A football giants Milan, it was revealed on Saturday.

    The move tightens the connection between the two sporting titans, with Yankee Global Enterprises, which owns the Major League Baseball team, having acquired a minority stake when investment firm RedBird Capital took ownership of Milan last August in a €1.2billion deal.

    In a statement, Milan said: "AC Milan today announced that Randy Levine, president of the New York Yankees, has joined the club's board of directors.

    "Mr Levine has been the president of the New York Yankees for over 20 years and is recognised globally as one of the most accomplished executives in the sports and entertainment industries."

    Milan chairman Paolo Scaroni said of Levine: "His experience and expertise will integrate with ours, contributing to the growth path of the club and creating opportunities to expand its global appeal.

    "The appointment of Randy will help us develop new synergies at a global level, in line with RedBird's strategic vision, opening new horizons for the club and its fans."

    Forbes last year listed the Yankees, owned by the Steinbrenner family, as the fourth most valuable sports team in the world, with an estimated value of $6billion.

    Seven-time European champions Milan won Italy's Serie A title in 2021-22, ending an 11-year wait. They entered this weekend sitting second in the 2022-23 championship, with Napoli the leaders.

  • Twins trade reigning AL batting champion Arraez to the Marlins Twins trade reigning AL batting champion Arraez to the Marlins

    The Minnesota Twins and Miami Marlins pulled off a blockbuster trade Friday, with Minnesota sending AL batting champion Luis Arraez to Miami in exchange for starting pitcher Pablo Lopez and two minor leaguers.

    Arraez, 25, had a breakout season for the Twins last season, batting a league-best .316 with eight home runs and 49 RBIs in 144 games while denying the Yankees’ Aaron Judge (.311) a Triple Crown. The return of shortstop Carlos Correa allowed Minnesota to deal from a position of strength.

    ''Anytime you have a player that's well-liked in the environment, who you know is going to go work and do it every day which we got to see with Luis, it makes it harder,'' Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said. ''We'd love to have Luis and Pablo on our team, but to get something as impactful as what Pablo brings to our team, you have to give something impactful.''

    The 26-year-old Lopez went 10-10 with a 3.75 ERA in a career-best 180 innings over 32 starts last season, his fifth in the major leagues. He posted a 1.83 ERA in his first 10 starts and pitched to a 2.86 ERA through the All-Star break before slumping to a 4.97 ERA in the second half.

    The right-hander shoulder bolster a deep rotation that features Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, Kenta Maeda and Joey Ryan.

    ''I'm really excited about coming to this team, the leaders they have in the clubhouse and the players they have to support each other,'' Lopez said on a video interview with reporters. ''It's a mentality that really motivates me too. I ask and expect more of myself when it comes to my performance and the ways I can help out the team.''

    Also headed to Minnesota in the deal are infielder Jose Salas and outfielder Byron Chourio. The 19-year-old Salas was picked as the organisation’s fifth-best prospect in the most recent MLB Pipeline rankings. Chourio, 17, played in the Dominican Summer League last season after signing with the Marlins in June.

    Arraez spent most of his time at first base last season for the Twins, with 61 starts there, 34 at designated hitter and 31 at second base. He also appeared at third base and left field.

    He is one of baseball’s toughest outs with only 131 strikeouts in 1,569 career plate appearances. Arraez only had 14 career homers in 389 games, but has a career on-base percentage of .374.

    Even with Lopez’s departure, the Marlins still have a rotation topped by NL Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara and newly acquired right-hander Johnny Cueto.

    Offense was a bigger need after Miami ranked 14th in the National League last season with a .230 batting average and last with 586 runs.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.