MLB team Houston Astros logo on waving jersey fabric. Editorial 3D rendering
Astros fans have gotten spoiled. The angst over a team with the best record in the American League is palpable. However, there was a real reason for concern when Justin Verlander was forced to leave his last start after just three innings due to a calf injury.
The good news? It is not serious and he is not expected to be out for long. In fact, the rest for his arm may do him some good. The only thing Houston needs to be concerned about is the postseason. The division is won, they will be no worse than a No. 2 seed, so frankly the rest of the regular season does not matter.
That won’t stop the fans from panicking. Play Mancini more! Play Vasquez more! Handle the bullpen better, Dusty!
You would think the Astros were fighting for their lives. But it’s August in a division that was won months ago. What Baker is doing now is not what it should be once the playoffs get here. If you want to be angsty, worry about center field, which has been an abomination all year. And if that’s your only real concern…
The bullpen had a rough patch this month, but that happens in August. It should get a boost from Hunter Brown, or another starter if Brown winds up in the rotation. Speaking of the rotation, once the playoffs hit this team should match up with anyone. A healthy Verlander, Framber Valdez and a hopefully fully operational Lance McCullers gives this team a 1-2-3 punch that can match up with anyone in the playoffs.
Having Verlander is a big part of that. He was sorely missed in last year’s World Series. The Astros need him for October, and the fact that he should be available is a huge relief. Truth is, we don’t need to see him until then. As for now? Don’t sweat the little things. The Astros are serious World Series contenders. Again. A healthy Verlander will be a big part of that.