HOUSTON — Justin Verlander isn’t sure when he’ll have time to look back upon his terrific 2022 season, one that could wind up with him winning his third American League Cy Young Award. Verlander has one start remaining to close his case, but even a hiccup in his final start wouldn’t stain what’s been a remarkable campaign.
Verlander, at 39 years old and coming off Tommy John surgery, helped his cause Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park in a 5-2 loss to the D-backs in 10 innings. He threw seven innings and allowed two runs (one earned), six hits and one walk while striking out eight batters to lower his ERA to 1.80 in 170 innings pitched.
The loss kept the Astros’ magic number to clinch the top seed in the American League at one over the Yankees.
Back to Verlander. He didn’t pick up a decision Wednesday, but he still leads the AL in wins (17), ERA, opponents’ OPS (.508), WHIP (0.85) and hits per nine innings (6.14).
“I see the numbers,” Verlander said. “I know what’s happening. I know how good the season is, but on the other side of that, when you’re in the middle of it, I don’t think you really truly appreciate what’s happening. I’ve talked at length this year about my perspective from being away from the game and being with my family and being more in the moment and I feel that’s kind…