In less than one week, Astros open the 2019 season on the road with a four-game series against the Rays.
We’re one day closer to meaningful baseball games, everyone! Next Thursday, which is March 28th, the Astros start their journey to #TakeItBack. Hopefully good times are have for all, well, except Houston’s opponents. I don’t wish them ill harm or anything, but I wouldn’t mind seeing the Rays drop their first four games at home. Alas, the Rays are pretty good themselves.
Anyway, the Astros announced their starting rotation for this opening series, which isn’t a surprise. When it comes to the rotation, teams like to schedule those guys out early.
The starting rotation this season looks different than last year’s staff. Charlie Morton is likely to start Game 2 of the season, but for the Rays. Lance McCullers Jr. is recovering from Tommy John surgery and he will be out the entire 2019 season. Dallas Keuchel is somewhere doing something while not under contract with a team. The fact that Keuchel remains unsigned right now is surprising.
That said, the Astros still have Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole leading the rotation. Hey, there are much worse places a team can be. Let’s see if I feel the same way one year from now. Collin McHugh slides back into the rotation following a season in the bullpen in 2018. Wade Miley, who revitalized his career with the Brewers last season, finds himself as the club’s number four starter. Although he wasn’t announced for the Rays series, Brad Peacock will probably get the start for the first game of the Rangers series on April 1st.
For this particular series in Tampa, we’ll see Verlander, who finished second in AL Cy Young voting last season, face off against Rays’ lefty, Blake Snell, the 2018 AL Cy Young winner, in Game 1. The next game, Game 2, will likely be a contest between former Houston teammates, Cole and Morton. McHugh and Rays’ right-hander Tyler Glasnow will probably see each other in Game 3, or anytime randomly at Tropicana Field next weekend, while Miley likely faces an assortment of relievers. Yes, the Rays are probably going to use an opener for Game 4.