The Astros’ ace Justin Verlander has been selected for the second time in his career to be the starting pitcher of the All-Star Game.
When the American League All-Star team takes the field in the first inning, almost half of the players will be representing the Houston Astros. George Springer and Michael Brantley make up two-thirds of the outfield, Alex Bregman will man third base, and Justin Verlander will be on the mound as the starting pitcher.
Verlander becomes the fifth pitcher from Houston to be honored as the managers choice to be the starter for the Summer Classic. J. R. Richard was the first Astro to start the All-Star Game in 1980. He was followed by Mike Scott (1987), Roger Clemens (2004), and Dallas Keuchel (2015).
Alex Cora, the manager of the American League Team and former Astros bench coach, was glad that he could choose Verlander for the role. “He’s getting better,” Cora said. “You know, the work that he puts in, that you people don’t see. … He got there to Houston, and he bought into the concept, and he’s getting better. And it’s a pleasure for me to give him the ball and start everything off.”
This will be the eighth All-Star appearance and second start for Verlander, six as a Detroit Tiger and two as an Astros. Even though this will be his eighth time, Verlander doesn’t take the honor lightly.
"“And I don’t take these games for granted,” he said. “I had the opportunity to go a few years in a row when I was younger. And then I got hurt and missed a few years in a row, and I think it made me appreciate being an All-Star all the more.” via Richard Justice of MLB.com."
We can only hope that this start goes better than his 2012 experience. In that start, Verlander gave up five earned runs, on four hits and two walks. The American League lost that game 8-0, but they haven’t lost since that year.