With Justin Verlander starting on the mound, tonight, the Houston Astros should win the World Series. It’s Game Six in Los Angeles and the Astros starter is undefeated in his new uniform. A former Detroit Tiger, Verlander has not lost a game since heading to Southeastern Texas.
After his walk-off single to win Game Five and take a three games to two lead in the series Sunday night, Houston third baseman Alex Bregman excitedly said, “We’ve got Justin Verlander going for us in two days.” He means that they will undoubtedly win the series tonight because they have the best pitcher of the postseason on the hill.
Verlander is facing the Dodgers’ Rich Hill who threw nine innings of a perfect game before giving up a walk-off home run to the Pittsburgh Pirates Josh Harrison to start the tenth inning in the latter half of the season. Hill recorded a no decision in every one of his playoff starts, including the Astros 7-6 Game Two victory.
Verlander leads the postseason in wins, as he is 4-0, he has the only shutout and only complete game, and he only gave up three runs in his Game Two win. While the ‘Stros will be cautious about using their bullpen tonight, if Verlander shows the slightest signs of slowing down, A.J. Hinch will without a doubt take him out, but that’s not likely to happen.
Hill, in Game Two, while he only gave up one run, Dave Roberts took him out of the game after only four innings! The Trolley Dodgers have a great pen, but after six of their pitchers in Sunday’s loss, they’re stretched a little thin, even after a day of rest.
Tonight’s matchup will showcase a seasoned veteran who has proven that he is more than well suited to pitch long innings against a manager who is scared to keep his starter in the game past the fifth inning (when most Dodgers fans leave the ballpark anyway) with a tired bullpen. Dave Roberts has to be confident that Hill can go to the sixth inning, at least!
Now say, Houston does not take the series tonight, it’s fair to say that Game Six will be a struggle. Both teams will probably go digging into their pens, a part of the team that LA is much better in, but Houston will go there later, use less relievers, and leave Lance McCullers, another long-innings pitcher, to pitch against a faltering Yu Darvish and an exhausted Dodger bullpen.
As for tonight’s starting pitcher’s comparison, Verlander has 29 strikeouts, Hill has only 19, Verlander has 2.05 Earned Run Average, Hill has it at 2.77, Verlander has four wins, Hill has zero, and Verlander’s average of Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched is 0.88, while Hill’s is 1.23. Granted, Verlander has pitched 30.2 innings to Hill’s 13, awarding him more time to strike out more batters, all that means is that Verlander has had longer to allow more runs and more hits, thusly proving that Hinch’s starter has consistently performed much better than Roberts’ this postseason.
While the stats point to Houston’s favor, as well as their momentum, coming off of a huge, hard-fought victory, it’s Halloween and Game Six. All baseball fans know that crazy things happen in Game Six and all people know crazy things happen on Halloween. Happy Halloween and wonderful World Series watching!