What is Justin Verlander doing here?

October 25th, 2019

Nationals first baseman and Astros righty are both Virginia natives who played their college ball in the state -- Zimmerman at the University of Virginia and Verlander at Old Dominion. Both are accomplished MLB veterans and All-Stars. Now, they share an odd World Series moment.

In the fourth inning of Wednesday's Game 2, a 12-3 Nationals victory, Zimmerman hit a soft chopper to Verlander's right. Verlander sprinted off the mound, laid out on his back and attempted to throw out Zimmerman at first. Instead, the ball went off Verlander's left leg and Zimmerman had himself a single. All Verlander could do was smirk after the play.

"I told Wade [Miley] -- the only way for me to get him out was to throw it hard enough, so I tried to throw it between my legs," said Verlander. "If I lobbed it, he's safe. I tried to throw it hard enough between my legs. As I'm rolling, I threw it [off the foot]. It was a one in a million play anyway. The first part of it ... the first 75 percent was great."

The play got the attention of fellow pitcher Yu Darvish, who once got flak from Verlander on a misstep he made in 2018.

Pitchers never forget.

"He's probably been waiting in the weeds forever, waiting for his opportunity for me to do something stupid," said Verlander. "It was great. Seventy-five percent of that play was pretty [darn] athletic. The other 25 percent, when I threw it off my heel, wasn't so much."