Old but gold: At 39, Justin Verlander makes push for Cy Young award

Justin Verlander
Posted at 5:00 AM, Jul 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-26 05:00:27-04

Justin Verlander has a little more gray in his hair and stubble these days.

Despite those details — and the fact he pitches for the Houston Astros now — it’s sometimes hard to tell if this is 2009 or 2022.

The ageless 39-year-old Verlander continues to make a case to win his third Cy Young Award. He now has a 13-3 record and 1.86 ERA after giving up just one run over seven innings in a 3-1 victory over the Mariners.

His stellar season is even more amazing considering he missed nearly two full years after Tommy John surgery, starting just once in the abbreviated 2020 season before missing the entire 2021 campaign. But the nine-time All-Star has come back better than ever, even touching 99 mph in his seventh — and final — inning against the Mariners.

“I feel like I haven’t been able to let it go like that in a long time,” Verlander said on Saturday.

Verlander’s push for a Cy Young Award is fairly rare for a player approaching 40 years old. Roger Clemens won at 42 back in 2004 when he won the award for the Astros, while Gaylord Perry was 40 when he won in 1978. Early Wynn was 39 in 1959.

Verlander will have plenty of competition for this year’s AL Cy Young Award. Tampa Bay’s Shane McClanahan (10-3, 1.71 ERA) and Toronto’s Alex Manoah (11-4, 2.24) also have impressive resumes.