Chicago Cubs: Cole Hamels is absolutely this year’s Justin Verlander

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: A historic stretch run for Justin Verlander

One month after the non-waiver trade deadline last season, the Houston Astros pulled the trigger on a blockbuster deal, bringing veteran Justin Verlander to the Lone Star State.

The move immediately paid dividends. The former MVP and Cy Young winner made five starts for manager A.J. Hinch, pitching to a 1.06 ERA in five starts. Courtesy of a 0.647 WHIP and 8.60 strikeout-to-walk ratio, the right-hander had it on cruise control heading into the postseason.

And he continued to pitch well – standing out, in particular, in the seven-game ALCS against the New York Yankees, where he took home series MVP honors. Why? He took the ball in two of those games, turning in 16 innings of one-run ball – helping lead Houston to their first World Series appearance since 2005.

The rest, as they say, is history. Verlander and the Astros each finally got their first ring and the Dodgers were kept waiting after manhandling the Cubs in the NLCS.

So, now that you remember he only made five starts down the stretch, we can put Hamels and Verlander’s performances side-by-side and see how they stack up.