Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Tigers wins, not his K's, matter to Verlander

Amid resurgent campaign, veteran ace notches sixth 200-strikeout season
Special to MLB.com

CHICAGO -- It will mean more to Justin Verlander in the offseason, but right now, surpassing 200 strikeouts for the sixth time is just another number to the Tigers' veteran ace.

Despite a resurgent season in which he's reasserted himself among baseball's elite starters, the hard-throwing veteran is concerned with only the number of wins Detroit gets in its chase to qualify for the postseason.

View Full Game Coverage

CHICAGO -- It will mean more to Justin Verlander in the offseason, but right now, surpassing 200 strikeouts for the sixth time is just another number to the Tigers' veteran ace.

Despite a resurgent season in which he's reasserted himself among baseball's elite starters, the hard-throwing veteran is concerned with only the number of wins Detroit gets in its chase to qualify for the postseason.

View Full Game Coverage

All the other stuff, such as eclipsing the 200-strikeout mark with 11 strikeouts in his seven-inning outing Monday, is just background noise. It was the first time he's done it since 2013, but wasn't something he was preoccupied with achieving.

"That's stuff that I look at at the end of the year," said Verlander, who took a no-decision against the White Sox in Monday's 5-3 Tigers win. "It's just, at this point, there's a lot of other stuff going on. I'm not focusing on personal accomplishments or milestones, or whatever. There's a bigger picture. Yeah, 200 [strikeouts] is great, but I'm more focused on innings and just going out there, giving us a chance to win."

Video: DET@CWS: Verlander snags comebacker with quick glove

That's something Verlander has done quite a bit, but especially since the All-Star break. His latest outing was his 11th straight quality start, a career-high streak, and 23rd of the season. He joined Tigers legend Mickey Lolich as the only Tigers pitcher to whiff 200-plus six times.

Until 2014, that milestone had become an expectation for Verlander, before losing a few miles per hour off his fastball amid injury issues. A slump ensued that lasted much of the past two seasons, but Verlander has righted the ship.

Healthy again, he's added more feel for his pitches and still has a fastball that can reach the high 90s.

"Reports of his demise were premature," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "Without a question, I think he's proved it over the last year-plus. Two hundred strikeouts, he should take pride in. I'm sure he does take pride in it, but when he's on the mound, I guarantee he's not thinking about that. He might be happy about it after the fact, but he wasn't thinking about it when he was out there."

Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago.

Detroit Tigers, Justin Verlander