Justin Verlander, SP
Justin Verlander started to get back to his norm last night. He pitched six innings, allowed six hits, and struck out eleven batters. That’s a pretty great line until you see another home run tacked onto the line.
Overall, Verlander has been excellent across 26 starts this season. He has a 2.50 ERA, 217 strikeouts, and a superb 0.91 WHIP. However, he has had a very negative homerun trend over the past six weeks or so. In his last 13 starts, he’s surrendered 18 home runs. Compared to his first 13 starts where he only gave up five home runs.
While Verlander has been due for some regression for quite some time now, this has been a little extreme. He has never been a standout groundball pitcher but, he’s been more vulnerable to the fly ball as of late. Couple that with missing pitches has resulted in far too many home runs.
Verlander is, without a doubt, the bonafide ace of this team. The Houston Astros would not have had the success they’ve had this year, or the World Series for that matter, without him. He is going to be an integral part to this team’s playoff push and defense of the World Series.
If he can trend back in the direction he was for the first half of the season then the Astros will be in good shape. However, if Verlander can’t get his home run issues under control, the Astros could be seeing an early exit in the playoffs.