Justin Verlander is set for his final start of the year and a possible farewell with the Houston Astros

PHILADELPHIA — Game 5 of the 2022 Major League Baseball World Series, scheduled for Thursday night at Citizens Bank Park, will pit right-hander Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros against Noah Syndergaard of the Philadelphia Phillies.

While Syndergaard will make his debut, Verlander will make his second appearance in the series.

In Game 1, which Philadelphia won 6-5 in 10 innings Friday at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Verlander gave up six hits and five earned runs in five innings. Now the historic North American pitcher is 0-6 with a 6.07 ERA in eight career World Series starts.

For Verlander, it will be the final appearance in another outstanding season in a Hall of Fame-level career. It could also be his last commitment in an Astros jersey.

“It’s too early. I try not to think about it, really,” said Verlander, who has yet to decide whether to activate his $25 million player option for 2023 or test the free agent market after the Fall Classic.

“Really and truly, it was a great ride no matter what happened, whether I stayed or not. I really enjoyed my time with this group of guys, in the city and getting to know the city. And it was truly a blessing and a wonderful time in my career,” Verlander said.

The 39-year-old right-hander missed the 2021 season recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, but returned in similar form to 2019, when he won his second career Cy Young Award.

Last season, Verlander went 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA and 185 strikeouts in 175.0 innings and 28 starts. His 220 adjusted ERA+ was the best in a professional tour that began with the Detroit Tigers in 2005.

If he wins a third Cy Young, Verlander would join Roger Clemens (7), Randy Johnson (5), Steve Carlton and Greg Maddux (4) and Gaylord Perry, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens and Roy Halladay (3). on the list of the most trophy winners.

Regardless of what he decides about his future in the days to come, Verlander’s passing will be a fond memory for Astros fans. The “Ace” is 61-19 with a 2.26 ERA in 102 starts, and the Astros won their only title, in 2017, and have been to the World Series four times in those six years.

“I try not to think about it. I try to be in the present,” said Verlander, a nine-time All-Star with 244 wins and more than 3,000 strikeouts and 3,000 career innings.

“I mean, we talk a lot about how this year I’ve just tried to be more in the moment and be in the present and enjoy the ride and everything that has to happen. We will see,” he added.

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