Justin Verlander – Game Score 61 | Strike % 58.8 | Pitches Per Out 5.3
Is the ace back? That seems to be the consensus among the Astros beat writers , and I’d agree for the most part with Verlander regularly hitting 95 mph and giving up only one run on a solo homer while getting zero run support.
Verlander gives up his share of solo home runs, that’s going to happen when you challenge major-league hitters pitch after pitch, so no worries there.
On the other hand, he walked three in five innings and had the lowest strike percentage of the first four starts, which is a little surprising.
It was his first major-league appearance in 624 days, so I’d say he did fine, though 80 pitches over five innings is not optimal efficiency. Having watched how this guy operates, I’d be willing to bet if he wasn’t coming off Tommy John surgery he’d have gone into the sixth and maybe even started the seventh.