CTH interviews the Astros ace, Justin Verlander before his last regular season start thanks to Flonase.
For the next four games, including a doubleheader to close out the season, it will be like a spring training game. You will see some players get some at-bats, but they will try to rest the main pieces of the lineup. We will see a lot of Myles Straw, J.D. Davis, Max Stassi, and Kyle Tucker and company. You may see a starting pitcher only pitch five innings for the Astros.
The Astros will not be mailing in the rest of the season because they are still chasing a franchise record in wins in a season. They have clinched the second seed in the playoffs, so it would be nice to achieve 103 wins. Against a team like the Orioles, it may happen, but the main idea is gearing up for October.
One of the reasons to watch some games this weekend is to see how Justin Verlander closes out his 2018 regular season campaign. Some could argue that Verlander should win the AL Cy Young Award this year. We know Kate Upton thinks so. Verlander has a 16-9 record this year with a 2.60 ERA while striking out 280 hitters in 208 innings via MLB.com.
WIll he reach 300 strikeouts? No, they don’t want him to throw that many pitches. Whatever he does tomorrow will be gravy to his Cy Young resume. Thanks to Flonase, CTH was able to do a little interview with Verlander before his last 2018 regular season start.
CTH: What did it feel like to finally win that championship last year?
Verlander: Best feeling ever. It’s what you want to experience as an athlete. It’s an all-time high.
CTH: How much longer do you see yourself pitching? (hopefully in Houston)
Verlander: I feel like I can play until I’m 45 but we will see. I will play until something changes.
CTH: What was the biggest change between pitching philosophies between Detroit and Houston?
Verlander: I don’t think there really is a change. I really utilize the analytics provided to me here, and that has helped tremendously.
CTH: How hard was it to leave Detroit?
Verlander: It was extremely difficult. At the time I never saw it happening. But, here we are today.
Verlander: Ha, funny. We were making sure we would be ready to go.
CTH: Do you feel this rotation is better for October than last year’s rotation?
Verlander: I think we are a really good rotation. We were the best last year, and we added Gerrit Cole, so you tell me.
CTH: Being here a full year now, what is his favorite thing about Houston so far?
Verlander: I honestly feel like I am still doing new things here in Houston. I love the city, and I love the fans. And I’m excited to keep doing more things here.
CTH: Do you allow yourself to think about your place in history? HOF?
Verlander: Growing up, as early as a 10-year-old, I wanted to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. How realistic of a goal was it then? I don’t know. But that’s always been the vision at the end of my career.
CTH: You recently teamed up with Flonase. What kind of allergies do you have, and has it ever affected you during games?
Verlander: I suffer tremendously from allergies, always have really, which is why Flonase is the perfect fit for me. Stuffy nose, watery eyes, you name it, and I suffer from it. I’ve had congestion and watery eyes before so bad and it can severely impact my ability to perform. But using Flonase has helped me avoid those moments.
CTH: Have you been getting advice on becoming a dad? Who’s your ‘coach’?
Verlander: Not really. It’s kinda funny because I think everyone wants me to focus on baseball this time of year.
CTH: You seem to have a really special bond with this team – Bregman at HR derby – etc. Have you ever been a part of a team that has been this close?
Verlander: I think this team is special. You would never know we won a championship last year and that’s what makes this team so unique and special.
CTH: Do you and the other SPs have any friendly competitions (on or off the field)?
Verlander: I think we are all competitors, but we really just encourage one another so sure, we have a little fun with it, but we just want to keep winning.
CTH: How about the strikeout race? Do you and Cole talk about it between starts?
Verlander: We do not. We really just go about our work.
CTH: I know you’re still 10 years away from retirement, but what do you think you will be doing after your playing days? Something MLB related or are there different aspirations?
Verlander: I have not thought about it, to be honest. I love golf, maybe something there.