The Houston Astros acquired Justin Verlander from the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, bolstering arguably their biggest weakness — their pitching.
To land Verlander, the Astros gave up three prospects who are considered by many in the MLB world to be a solid return for the Tigers.
The trade is a signal that the Astros, atop the American League at 80-53, are serious about their World Series chances.
While the Astros boast a powerful offence, their pitching has fallen off this season, as they’re only 12th in ERA, 16th in walks per nine innings, and 20th in batting average on balls in play (BABIP).
Verlander since the All-Star break has been one of the best pitchers in MLB, boasting a 2.41 ERA and .186 opponent batting average, and a .906 WHIP. He’s third in the AL in ERA, second in WHIP, and second in batting average in the second half.
While Verlander isn’t the Cy Young star he was years ago, he nonetheless is a strong arm to add to the Astros’ rotation. With fellow Cy Young pitcher Dallas Keuchel, the Astros could boast two strong starting pitchers going into the postseason, with Lance McCullers Jr. currently on the 10-day DL.
Said Astros owner Jim Crane to Fox26: “We’re trying to win. If we get a shot to win, we’re going to lean in.”
The Astros will have competition in the AL in the Clevelabd Indians and Boston Red Sox, and perhaps even with the Los Angeles Angels making a postseason push, but after acquiring Verlander, the AL continues to look like a one-team league.
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