Astros Looking to pick up Half a Game on Idle A’s | Verlander Going
by Brad Mullins Scores & Statson
With just 19 games left in the regular season, the Astros find themselves clinging to a 2.5 game lead over the idle Oakland A’s. This win tonight could be a difference maker down the stretch and they have their ace going. Justin Verlander has certainly already made his mark in Houston and although he has not been as overpowering as in the past or even last season for that matter, he certainly still has tremendous command and pinpoint accuracy. The problem for Verlander has been run support. That is almost sacrilegious to say considering that we are talking about the World Series Champion Houston Astros! The Astros could do no wrong last year, but this year has proven to be a different animal altogether.
In the first half of this 2018 MLB season, the Mariners were giving the Astros a run for their championship money, that has fallen by the wayside in a hurry and the Seattle Mariners have proven to be nothing more than a flash in the pan with some great hitters but inconsistent pitching. The Oakland A’s however, have proven to be worth their weight in gold and have held steady throughout. The A’s desperately needed a win from the Boston Red Sox on Sunday night and they got it. The problem for the A’s; the Astros have won 8 of 11 and they are hitting the cover off of the baseball. The Astros were the real deal last season and they are the real deal this season. The question is, will their big guns on the mound stay the course?
On Sunday evening, Dallas Keuchel went six innings and gave up 9 hits and 5 earned runs for the Astros. The Red Sox went on to win this game late and the bullpen failed the Astros yet again! The Astros had better get their act together quick, they are all in with this roster.
Tonight’s game is a big deal for Justin Verlander, not only is he going home, he needs to step up and get a very big win to catch the idle Oakland A’s with a half-game boost. The difference between 2.5 and 3 games could be a money maker. Really, with 19 games left on the slate, absolutely every pitch is crucial.
The Boston Red Sox are by far and away the best team in baseball and the Cleveland Indians are close on the trail. Although the Indians have won 8 games less than the Yankees, they lead their division by 15.5 games over the Minnesota Twins! The Indians have a ton of pitching and they will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs.
No matter who faces the Red Sox, or the Indians, they are in for a difficult series. The A’s have won 87 games and they desperately need the Tigers to find a way to beat hometown boy Verlander. This one tonight is not going to be easy and the Detroit Tigers have “spoiler” on their minds. The Astros on the other hand, they know how to take care of their business when it matters. They know they can’t afford to lose this one and for more than one reason; how would it look for the ace of the team to get beat by a team that has a 59 and 84 record and currently sits 22 games behind the Indians? It will look awful and it will bode awful! Simply put, the Astros need this win and the pressure is on them to get it. The Tigers need nothing, and there is absolutely no pressure whatsoever.
Be prepared for a great game. Verlander has not blown the doors of hitters like he did last season. This is not to say that he gets rocked tonight! Not even close. What this does say, however, watch this one closely, it will be a better game than most folks think. Enjoy Monday Night Baseball, there aren’t many left, and as the season winds down, watch the race heat up. This race is just starting, and it promises to be fantastic.