Justin Verlander is starting tonight for the Astros against the Mariners at Minute Maid Park. It’s going to be the 12th Opening Day outing for the future Hall of Famer and third in a row as a member of the team from Houston.
We are all excited about tonight and we should be excited about Verlander as well. Why? Let’s check out some facts...
1. You need to take a deeper look. Verlander’s record on Opening Day is 4-1, 3.74 in 11 starts between the Detroit Tigers and the Astros. That’s not impressive, uh? Well, it goes a different way if we take his outings since 2012.
Since that year, his team has not lost any of his seven appearances. He’s 4-0, with a 1.62 ERA (that’s eight earned runs across 44 1⁄3 innings).
As an Astro, the veteran righty has fired 13 frames of seven hits and one earned run in two starts. In those two games (against the Rangers and the Rays), he has a 3/14 BB/K ratio. Tonight it’s going to be his first time facing the Mariners on Opening Day.
2. Great record. Verlander is at 15-9, 3.25 in his career against the Mariners, but it’s a similar case to the mentioned above. Despite being 37 years old, he’s gotten better year after year and has only lost once against Seattle in his last 13 outings off them: 6-1, 3.05.
In those 13 starts, JV only allowed two earned runs once, three earned runs thrice, and more than three earned runs twice. In the other seven, he accepted one or zero earned runs. How about that?
3. No success against JV. The current members of the Mariners have hit for a .219/.274/.419 life slash line off Verlander, who has only given up a home run to Kyle Seager (4). Seager is 10-for-36 against the Astros’ ace.
Dan Vogelbach is 4-for-13, Dee Gordon is 4-for-12, and Mallex Smith is 2-for-22 against Justin’s deliveries. Current Mariners’ team has struck out 30 times and gotten 23 hits off him.
4. Three in a row. This is going to be his third Opening Day start in a row for the Astros. In the last 30 years, since 1990, the only pitchers with three consecutively OD outings for Houston are Roy Oswalt (8), Shane Reynolds (5), and Dallas Keuchel (3).
The Astros have won their last seven Opening Day games, including their only faceoff against the Mariners in the first day of the 2017 season (a victory 3-0).