Tonight’s 7-1 victory over the Twins marks Verlander’s MLB-leading 18th victory in 27 starts this season. Likely to get eight more starts before the playoffs, Verlander is on pace to become the first pitcher to reach 24 wins since Randy Johnson pulled off the lofty feat in 2002.
Verlander also struck out eight tonight, including his 200th batter of the season, giving him a MLB-leading 204 and putting him easily within reach of the 250 K plateau. He would only have to average 6 strikeouts per game from here on out, which is well under his 7+ per game average he’s carrying now.
Aiding his cause (tho it’s not like he needs it), the Tigers have the easiest remaining schedule among AL playoff contenders. Verlander is likely to face the Rays in Tampa, Twins in Minnesota, Royals at home, Indians in Cleveland, Twins at home, A’s in Oakland, Royals in KC, and the Indians at home in the final week of the regular season.
It’s not difficult to project the AL Cy Young front-runner getting six wins in eight starts and the 46 Ks he needs against that relatively weak competition, making him a shoo-in for the award and leading the Tigers to the Central Division crown.