Justin Verlander in 2011: 24-5, 2.40 ERA, 250 K's, 8.3 WAR
Verlander in 2012: 17-8, 2.64 ERA, 239 K's, 7.6 WAR
Since 1980, only six starters have had at least three seasons with 7+ WAR (Baseball-Reference): Roger Clemens (9), Randy Johnson (7), Greg Maddux (5), Pedro Martinez (4), Curt Schilling (3) and Roy Halladay (3).
Can Verlander become the seventh? The last pitcher to do it three consecutive seasons was Johnson, who did four straight years from 1999 to 2002.
Verlander has also led the majors the past two seasons in innings pitched. The last pitcher to do that three straight seasons was Maddux, who did it from 1992 to 1994. (Livan Hernandez led the NL three straight seasons, but not the majors.)
OK, Verlander is good. We know that.
Maybe the most impressive aspect of his past two seasons has been that's gone at least six innings in 66 of 67 regular-season starts, and the one time he didn't, he went 5.2 innings.
The postseason, however, has been a mixed bag: He lasted just four innings in his World Series start against the Giants (pitching on seven days' rest) and also lasted just four innings in an ALCS start against the Rangers in 2011. On the other hand, in his first three postseason starts in 2012 he allowed just two runs.
You know that World Series redemption is in the back of his mind. But he's going to have to plow through another long regular season, keeping his focus in what might be an easy run to a division title for the Tigers. With Verlander, we expect greatness. Let's set the over/under on his ERA at 2.60.