Astros vs. Phillies: Justin Verlander’s World Series struggles continue with a tough game in Game 1

for a while, Houston Astros Ace Justin Verlander was ready to swing against a gem Philadelphia Phillies In Game 1 of the World Series. He didn’t allow a baserunner through the first three innings Friday night, but that all changed in the fourth when he led 5-0.

Verlander allowed a one-out single to Rhys Hoskins. At this point, the Phillies did what they’ve done all October: string two-out hits. Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos each singled, then Alec Bohm doubled. Rookie Bryson Stott drew a 10-pitch walk before Verlander was able to escape further damage by inducing a Jean Segura pop-out.

The Astros led 5-3 heading into the fifth, but Verlander battled back. Here’s how his frame went: double, walk, pop out, double, ground out, strikeout. After that, the score was tied, and Verlander and the Astros took a five-run lead. Verlander, who should have been thrown early in the fifth, worked five frames, giving up five earned runs on six hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Hours later, the Astros hung their heads and lost 6-5 in the top of the 10th.

Verlander is a future Hall of Famer who could win a third Cy Young this year in his age-39 campaign. But he struggled badly in the World Series throughout his career. Verlander entered Game 1 with an 0-6 record and an ERA of 5.68 in seven World Series starts. After Friday, those numbers will have to be updated, and Verlander has made an unfortunate history:

Yes, Verlander’s updated World Series ERA of 6.07 is the worst among pitchers with at least 30 World Series innings. As bad as Verlander was in Friday’s Game 1, this wasn’t the worst World Series start of his career. In the match against 1 Giants In 2012, he allowed five runs in four innings; And against Game 1 Cardinals In 2006, he allowed six runs in five innings. As you may have already guessed, Game 1s were particularly unkind to Verlander:

Given his recent Game 1 loss, he’s pushing 40 years old and coming off Tommy John surgery. With the regular season and playoffs combined, he has now pitched 190 innings in 2022. Maybe he just likes it, or maybe it’s just one of those baseball quirks that happen from time to time. Verlander will have another start in this World Series and thus has a chance at some redemption. For now, though, his repeated struggles when the stakes are high contrast sharply with the impressive remainder of his career.

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