The Astros rotation is set to start the season including home opener
On March 29th, the Houston Astros will open the season in Arlington versus the Rangers.
We knew who would start that game and the next game. However, what order would the rest of the starters pitch? On Talking Stros, we thought of all the different combinations, including Lance McCullers being the Astros fifth pitcher.
We reasoned that they could skip McCullers some to keep him healthy all season. That was not the case, but we did guess who the fifth pitcher would be. According to Jake Kaplan, Justin Verlander will pitch the road opener and will be followed by Dallas Keuchel on Friday night.
These two may flip-flop depending on matchups when available. We know that Keuchel pitches better at home versus on the road, but they want to pitch them on regular rest. This also marks the first time in three years that Keuchel will not be the opening day starter. To show where we came from before Keuchel it was Bud Norris and Scott Feldman. Now it’s Verlander!
The rest of the rotation.
After the Astros traded for Gerrit Cole, it was assumed that he would be the third starter. On most teams, he would be the ace. On this team, he represents the depth of the rotation as the fourth starter. According to Kaplan, the Astros go with McCullers as the third starter. This will leave Charlie Morton as the fifth pitcher.
Sets up well for the opening series.
Morton got the final out of Game 7 of the World Series, earning him the nickname Charlie Freaking Morton. With this alignment, it will allow Morton to open the home part of the schedule versus the Orioles. They will unveil the championship banner in that game, so it will be a great honor to have Morton pitch that game.
The ring ceremony will be during the second home game with Verlander on the mound. If the Astros didn’t trade for Verlander, maybe the World Series didn’t happen. So that’s why it will be great why Verlander is on the bump. Then Keuchel will close out the opening series on Sunday. The rotation lines up perfectly.
Next: Astros: Maybe Tony Sipp is not as safe as we thought
All five of the starters look good this spring, especially Cole and Verlander. Keuchel got off to a late start this spring, but he has caught up and looks like he’s in midseason form. Morton had a bumpy start yesterday, but that was in the fifth inning. These pitchers are still building up their stamina.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***