HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610)- Despite suffering through his worst postseason start since joining the Astros, Dusty Baker said Wednesday he will not hesitate to give his ace the ball the next time his spot comes up in the rotation.
“I wish I could start him tomorrow, to tell you the truth,” Baker said.
Verlander was touched up for six runs on a playoff career-high 10 hits over four innings, and it could’ve been worse if not work a slick double play started by Jeremy Peña in the second inning and Yordan Alvarez throwing out Ty France at the plate in the fourth. Baker thought Verlander’s eight-day layoff, brought on by the five days off between the end of the regular season and the start of the ALDS, played a role in his poor outing.
“Maybe he was a little rusty,” he said after the game. “He was barely missing on a number of pitches. I think those days off, I think hurt our whole team.”
With layout of the ALDS, the Astros can bring Verlander back for game four on normal rest, something he did only five times during the regular season and once after the calendar flipped to July, but the Astros manager will not be shy about throwing his top starting pitcher.
“I'm more inclined to bring him back because the chance of him having two bad outings is rare, and I like to get a guy right back on the horse right away because the longer you sit him out, the longer they have to think about it.”
Since joining the Astros five years ago, Verlander is 7-6 in 16 postseason appearances with a 3.86 ERA, but he’s 0-4 with a 6.40 ERA in his last six playoff starts.