Houston (SPORTSRADIO 610) – Astros starter Justin Verlander struck out 13 hitters in a 9 inning victory over the Yankees in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series. It is the most strikeouts by an Astros pitcher in the postseason behind only Mike Scott’s 14 in Game 1 of the 1986 NLCS. It is also only the 20th time in Major League Baseball history a pitcher has fanned at least 13 in a postseason game.
“Being a one to one game the whole way and being able to go nine,” Justin said, “Just everything, it’s definitely one of the most satisfying starts I’ve had in my career.”
Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander combined for 23 strikeouts in the first two ALCS games which sets the record for most by any back-to-back starting pitchers in Astros postseason history. Mike Scott and Nolan Ryan held the previous combined record of 19 in Games 1 and 2 in the 1986 NLCS. Keuchel and Verlander are also the first pair of teammates to post back-to-back postseason outings with 10 strikeouts or more since Verlander had done it previously with Max Scherzer in Games 2 and 3 of the 2013 ALCS with Detroit.
Justin threw 124 pitches and 93 were strikes. That is a heavy workload, especially the way baseball has evolved in the past decade. However, it was nothing that he was not prepared for.
“I think I’ve conditioned myself to throw that many pitches,” Verlander said. “I think early in my career when things in baseball are kind of transitioning from older school to newer school, I was fortunate to have a manager in Jim Leyland who realized that I got stronger as games went on and let me continue to pitch. I’m thankful for that.”