Astros News

Astros’ Verlander is key and the magic number is three

jlyons
HOUSTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 17: Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros pitches in the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park on September 17, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 17: Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros pitches in the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park on September 17, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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It was a wet and windy night outside, with Imelda heading for the ballpark. But that didn’t stop Verlander and the Astros from doing what they do best, win.

The roof was closed but even a tropical storm can’t stop Justin Verlander and the Astros from getting yet another win at home. The final score Tuesday night was 4-1, bringing their record for the season at Minute Maid Park to 56-20, and their overall record to 99-53. The Astros win their 6th straight against the Texas Rangers, taking the season series to 12-8, good guys.

Justin Verlander

Another impressive start by the impending Cy Young winner had the Astros in good shape for a win all night. Although only going six innings and throwing 87 pitches, Justin Verlander was pulled early by skipper A.J. Hinch, who has stated that his starters will be given a little bit of rest heading into the postseason. Verlander still managed to strike out eight, walk only two, and allow four hits and no runs, lowering his ERA to an even 2.50.

He collects his 19th win on the season, and with potentially two more starts under his belt, he could collect numbers 20 and 21 by the time the last day of the season is over. A mighty fine number for Cy Young voters, even if wins mean very little nowadays.

The Offense

While Verlander was handling business on the mound, per usual, the offense also took a bit of time getting their ace runs, per usual. It took until the 5th inning, but the Astros finally got on the board with a Yuli Gurriel oppo-taco shot just over the fence in right field. Number 29 on the season for Gurriel.

Then in the 6th inning, the Astros showed their power just a bit more with a solo shot from Alex Bregman over the Crawford boxes and onto the train tracks, for number 37 on the year. They weren’t done there, as the very next batter, Yordan Alvarez sends a fastball up in the zone 454 feet to center field. It was number 26 on the season for Alvarez. Tack on an infield RBI single by George Springer in the 7th, and that was all the Astros would need to secure the win.

What’s On Tap

The Astros only have four more games left at Minute Maid Park in 2019, so if you’re wanting to go to the ballpark, there are only a few more days left to do so. Tomorrow night wraps up the season series with the Rangers, then the Astros play three with the Angels before heading out on the last road trip of the season to face the Seattle Mariners, and the Los Angeles Angels one more time.

Tidbits

Justin Verlander is only 11 strikeouts away from magic number 3,000. Unfortunately, tonight’s game against the Rangers was his last home start, so that milestone will happen on the road.

Verlander is also looking at a few personal milestones. If he collects eight more strikeouts on the season, he would best his career mark of 290 strikeouts set last season with the Astros. Seventeen strikeouts in his next two starts would put him at 300 strikeouts for the season, marking the first time ever he could potentially reach that mark in his career.

Also noteworthy, two consecutive scoreless outings would put his era below 2.40, which would mark the lowest season ERA of his career. Justin Verlander is 36 years old and potentially setting career-high marks in several categories. Let that sink in folks.

The Astros are also keeping pace for the best record in the majors, along with potential home-field advantage for the playoffs with the New York Yankees. If the Astros tie with the Yankees, the home-field advantage would go to the Astros, as they do own the season series against the Yankees.

The Astros magic number also now sits at only three games. A clinch at home either Friday or Saturday is becoming more likely.

Finally, with the franchise-record for wins sitting at 103, and the Astros currently at 99, the record set last season, will be broken barring a historic collapse. With games against only Texas, Seattle, and Los Angeles left, it’s not out of the question to predict at least two more losses on the season. That would bring the final win total to a record 108.

Next. Carlos Correa to return to Astros lineup tonight, bat seventh. dark

Who knows? Maybe the Astros will go on a 14 game win streak to end the season, break the longest franchise record for consecutive wins, and end the season with 110 wins. If you’re going to break a record, why not do it in grand fashion?

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