Justin Verlander was traded to the Houston Astros moments before September, meaning he’ll be able to pitch in the postseason. The 34-year-old now becomes a battle-tested weapon at the front end of the rotation.
Verlander is 10-8 with a 3.82 ERA and 1.279 WHIP this year. He’s been fantastic over his last seven starts (5-1/2.06/0.854). The former MVP combines physical ability and tough mental makeup to carry an arsenal capable of taming even the best bats on any given night.
In short, it’s a fantastic move for the Astros as they try to bring a World Series to a grieving city.
But because there’s an old Donald Trump tweet for everything, no analysis can be complete until one combs through the archives for the president’s thoughts.
Lo and behold, here’s what came up.
Trump, a Yankees fan, tweeted this the morning of Game 3 of the 2012 American League Championship Series. His hometown team was trailing the Tigers, two games to none. Verlander was coming off a complete game shutout of the Oakland A’s in a winner-take-all ALDS matchup. He carried in a 3.85 ERA in 56 postseason innings.
Hours later, he would take the mound and work 8.1 innings of three-hit, one run ball to extinguish all Yankees hope and lower his “not good” ERA.
Since the tweet, Verlander has worked 32.1 playoff innings and put up a 3.61 ERA to reduce his overall postseason number to 3.39, which, really is quite solid. His record is 7-5 and the Tigers went 8-8 in his 16 starts.
Perhaps most importantly, Verlander and Detroit went 3-0 in October series against Trump’s Yankees (2006, 2011, and 2012). The Astros figure to get the No. 1 seed in the American League. The Yankees are currently in the wild-card game. A Houston-New York series seems quite plausible.
That could portend bad news for the current president, especially if Verlander continues to improve when it matters in response to a now-ancient tweet.
Something to think about.