Justin Verlander to start Game 5 2022 World Series

PHILADELPHIA — The accomplishments Justin Verlander has accumulated since he was traded to the Astros in the final seconds before the 2017 trade deadline are enough to fill most pitchers’ careers. Remember, he had a stellar 12-season career in Detroit before coming to Houston.

Since wearing an Astros jersey, Verlander has won a World Series, won his second American League Cy Young Award (and a third this year, likely), and surpassed 3,000 hits for the third time in his career in 2017. ALCS MVP. All that’s missing from his resume is a win that started Thursday against the Phillies in Game 5 of the World Series.

With his contract expiring at the end of the season and Verlander likely opting out of his $25 million 2023 contract, the Game 5 start could be his last in a Houston uniform. He’ll turn 40 on opening day next year, but he should have a strong free-agent market at his service in one of his best seasons.

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“Really, really, whether I stayed or not, whatever happened, it was hell,” Verlander said. “I’m really happy to spend time with this group of guys, with the city, and to get to know the city. It was truly a blessing and a wonderful time in my career. So I try not to think about it. I’m trying to be. We talked a lot about trying to be more in the moment this year, trying to be out there and hang out.”

In eight career World Series starts, Verlander is 0-6 with a 6.07 ERA. He took a 5-0 lead into Game 1 of the World Series on Friday, but was unable to protect his lead. He gave up five runs on six hits and two walks over five innings as the Phillies won 6-5 in 10 innings.

“I found some mechanical things that needed to be cleaned up,” Verlander said. “I’ve been working really hard since then. But there’s really no way to know how it’s going until you get into the game and see how the hitters react. So try your best. When you apply it to your life, you see what it feels like — “Are you getting the results you want?” — and then you put it in the game and hope it does.”

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After returning from a brief stint on the injured list with a calf injury, Verlander has dealt with some mechanical problems in the lower half of his body. He’s 3-1 with a 3.55 ERA in seven starts (regular season and postseason) since returning, and he admits he hasn’t been as good as he was before the injury.

“But the only thing I can do is try to prepare the best I can,” Verlander said. “Whether it contributes or not, there have been a couple of bad starts, but when things aren’t as sharp as they used to be, you look at what could be the reason behind it. … But I go back to the beginning of my mechanics, and I have very little drive. So for me, that played a big role in that.”

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Depending on what happens in Game 4, Verlander could be trying to save the Astros’ season when he starts Game 5. He said he has been under pressure in the past and doesn’t intend to change his plan of attack too much depending on the situation.

“The strategy is different [in the postseason]”Verlander said, “Whereas in the regular season, if something’s a little off or you have a high rep count or something, you can massage the pitch count a little bit and get some hits here and there. quick exit. But in the playoffs, don’t give up a run or two with these types of pitches. So there’s a slightly different strategy, but I don’t think it changes depending on where you are in the series.”

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