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Game Recap: Stros Go Quietly Into the Break. Tigers Snap Six Game losing Streak 6-3.

Justin Verlander surrenders four homers, most ever as an Astro.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Houston Astros
There goes another. Justin Verlander gave up a career high 4 home runs Sunday against Detroit
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Verlander, facing his old team today for the first time, was as overpowering as ever. In six innings he gave up only six hits, no walks, and struck out 12 flailing Tigers. Out of 91 pitches an impressive 22 were swinging strikes. His strike out to home run rate was 3/1!

Wait....strike out to home run rate ? That’s not a real statistic. And that sucks.

I mean, 3-1 might be OK if you’re Dallas Keuchel and all you allowed was one home run, 3 strikeouts and 18 ground outs, but today it seemed like every time the Tigers were lucky enough to make contact the ball sailed out of the park. In fact, out of seven fly balls hit against Verlander today, four were homers.

Hmmmm. Home runs per fly balls. That is a real statistic. For his career, Verlander has allowed 8.3% of his fly balls to be home runs. Today that number was 57%

Four home runs off Justin Verlander. For only the third time in his long, hall of fame career Justin Verlander allowed four home runs in a game. Is this his former team’s retribution for his declaration last August to his then fiancee, Kate Upton, “screw it, we’re going to Houston?”

There are only three teams in baseball that Justin Verlander hasn’t beaten, the Miami Marlins, the Cincinnati Reds, and his old team, the Tigers. Coming into this game with a six game losing streak, and with the fourth worst record in the American League, it seemed like a win against the Tigers should have been an easy notch in Verlander’s belt. Instead it was the sixth straight game in which the AL’s leader in ERA among starters going into today failed to record a win.

What makes this even worse were the lost opportunities provided to Astros hitters by the Tigers’ starter Francisco Liriano. He could not consistently locate his fastball for a strike today, and got to a 3 ball count to an inordinate number of hitters, and yet seemed to weasel out of trouble almost every time. He left with a back injury after the third inning after allowing 3 walks, and only throwing 30 strikes out of 61 pitches.

The Astros did manage one run off of Liriano, on a bizarre double play with one out. With runners on first and third, Josh Reddick hit a sharp grounder to first base. The first baseman touched the bag, removing the force, and threw to second, getting the tag out there. .Before the tag however, Yuli Gurriel scored from third.

The only other Astros runs were on a wild pitch in the fourth inning and a sacrifice fly which scored Alex Bregman in the ninth. Bregman’s double to open the ninth was the Astros’ only extra base hit for the day, and one of only six hits all day against the weak Tigers pitching staff.

The Tigers scored five of their six runs on home runs, a two run shot by John Hicks in the second, a solo shot by Jeimer Candelario in the fifth, and two solo shots by Niko Goodrum and Jim Adduci in the sixth.

Will Harris, Collin McHugh and Tony Sipp pitched the last three innings of the game for Houston, all perfect. Tony Sipp struck out the side in the ninth, and in his last three appearances has faced 11 batters and struck out 8. Since May 11, Sipp has pitched 17 innings and allowed only one earned run with 20 strikeouts.

Frankly, I didn’t see much fire under the Astros today. Perhaps they were looking forward to the All Star Break.

I am. Last game recap until play resumes Friday against the Angels. All Star game on Fox Tuesday night. Watch Alex Bregman in the home run derby tomorrow night.

Box score and videos here.


Do you think Alex Bregman should particpate in the home run derby.

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    Yes, the derby jinx is a stupid myth.
    (39 votes)
  • 50%
    No, it’ll mess up his mojo.
    (39 votes)
78 votes total Vote Now