Is this the best starting rotation in Astros franchise history?

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 16: Justin Verlander #35, Blake Snell #4 and Gerrit Cole #45 chat during Gatorade All-Star Workout Day at Nationals Park on July 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 16: Justin Verlander #35, Blake Snell #4 and Gerrit Cole #45 chat during Gatorade All-Star Workout Day at Nationals Park on July 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /
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HOUSTON, TX – JULY 08: (L-R) Charlie Morton #50 of the Houston Astros, Lance McCullers Jr. #43, Gerrit Cole #45 and Justin Verlander #35 wait to celebrate with the team after defeating the Chicago White Sox 2-1 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

2018: Verlander, Cole, Charlie Morton, Dallas KeuchelLance McCullers Jr.

As good as this season’s group is, last year’s rotation was actually deeper. All five regular starters ended up with double-digit win totals and ERAs under 4.00. It was a virtual Murderer’s Row.

Verlander led the way with 16 wins and a 2.52 ERA, leading the league with 290 strikeouts and leading the majors with a 0.902 WHIP. He ended up finishing second in the Cy Young voting, losing to Tampa’s Blake Snell.

Cole finished fifth in the voting on the strength of 15 wins and a 2.88 ERA with 276 strikeouts. He led the majors with 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings and served as a co-ace along with a future Hall-of-Famer. Not too shabby.

Morton was the third Astros pitcher to strike out 200 batters last season, also notching 15 wins to go along with a 3.13 ERA. He led the majors in winning percentage and earned his first All-Star selection.

Keuchel posted a 12-11 record with a 3.74 ERA, winning his fourth Gold Glove award and leading the majors in total batters faced. Along with Verlander and Cole, he was the third Astros pitcher to throw 200 innings that season.

Finally, McCullers made 22 starts and three relief appearances, compiling a 10-6 record and 3.86 ERA in 128.1 innings. He solidified the fifth starter spot for much of the season, giving the Astros an incredibly deep rotation.

In comparing the two staffs, Morton and Keuchel have essentially been replaced by Greinke and Miley, respectively. Greinke is having a better season ERA-wise than Morton did and is generally a more well-regarded pitcher overall. Keuchel has more accolades than Miley, but Miley is having the better season.

The fifth spot would be the deciding factor. If Peacock can return to match or improve upon the 4.13 ERA he’s posted this season, that could tip the scales in 2019’s favor. Otherwise, 2018 still has a claim to being the best rotation in Astros history.

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