With the addition of Zack Greinke, the Astros boast one of the most formidable rotations in franchise history.
The Astros already had one of the best starting rotations in the game with Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Wade Miley toeing the rubber three out of every five days. Then they added a future Hall-of-Famer in Greinke.
The team now boasts the game’s best starting staff and are World Series favorites. Anything less than a second championship would be a bust. With all these expectations, this roster has to be the best Astros team in club history.
But is this the best starting rotation in club history? The Astros have been fortunate to have some good groups over the years. How does this one stack up with the rest?
Also, with all due respect to the ridiculous numbers the Astros’ 1968 rotation put up, I’ve decided not to include it since that was the Year of the Pitcher in which pretty much everyone pitched well. It wouldn’t be a good comparison to make, despite the presence of two excellent pitchers in Larry Dierker and Don Wilson.
This Year’s Group
The de facto ace is Verlander, and he’s in the midst of another excellent season. As of this writing, he has an MLB-leading 14 wins and AL-leading 2.73 ERA. He also leads the majors in WHIP (0.811) and hits allowed per nine innings (5.5). He also leads the league in ERA+ and strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Cole leads the majors this season with 216 strikeouts and an average of more than 13 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s also notched 13 wins and a 2.87 ERA. He garnered his second top five Cy Young finish in 2018 and looks headed for yet another one this year.
Greinke is the new addition, but he stands toe to toe with the best of them. He’s 10-4 with a 2.90 ERA on the season and is up to 197 wins for his career. He’s posting excellent numbers in the WHIP (0.945) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.43) categories while giving up fewer homers than in previous seasons, despite the league’s juiced nature.
Not to be outdone, Miley is having a great season in his own right. Nine wins and a 3.06 ERA from your fourth starter is something every team would gladly take. This top four would stand up against any other staff the team will face this season.
Finally, Brad Peacock has performed admirably, posing a 4.13 ERA in 15 starts and two relief appearances. If he can return to form once he’s off the IL, the rotation will be strong all the way around.