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Imagine If Houston Didn’t Go Verlander in Game 1

I was listening to the WIP morning show today while running an errand and heard Angelo Cataldi talking to MLB Network’s Harold Reynolds, and they were talking about the World Series, and how it’s going to be close. I was like, ok, I agree with that until he said, I think the Phillies have the edge because Justin Verlander should be getting extra rest at his age, and he hasn’t been great lately. I was floored.

I wasn’t sure if he was playing to the locals, but sure enough, he believed it. Verlander will be a Hall of Famer someday. There is no debate about that. He was 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA this season. He pitched in 28 regular season games.

Verlander has started 33 postseason games with two complete games. He had a bad ALDS game with a four-inning, six-run performance. But he followed that up with six innings of three-hit ball with a run, one walk, and 11 strikeouts.

Imagine if Dusty Baker listened to Reynolds and started Framber Valdez, as Reynolds suggested, or anybody else in Game 1 but not Verlander. That would be the story, and that might have shifted the betting odds as well. Nobody is worried about Verlander, and his pitch count will likely increase now that the more important games are occurring. Reynolds said the older pitcher would benefit from an extra day’s rest. What?

Verlander is one of the great postseason pitchers in the history of his time. According to Baseball Reference he’s 15-11 with a 3.55 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. Verlander is the all-time leader with 219 strikeouts. You want the ball in his hands as much as possible. Maybe even three times if possible.

Baseball is a great game when you don’t overthink it. Anything is possible, I get that. It’s going to be a great series for sure. Verlander gives the Astros the edge, not the way Reynolds suggested it.

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