Astros target Friday return for Justin Verlander

The Astros seem to be on the cusp of having Cy Young pioneer Justin Verlander backside. Manager Dusty Baker told reporters that while nothing has been finalized, the organization’s tentative plan is for Verlander to return on Friday (Twitter link via Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle). Verlander has not played since starting August 29 after three innings due to what was eventually diagnosed as a “fascist disorder” in his calf.

If he does return on Friday, it will come down to an 18-day absence for Verlander – a near-best case scenario for an injury, as acknowledged by the pitcher himself after position His IL, which could put him through a part of the post-season is even a bit more serious.

[Related: The Changing Landscape of the American League Cy Young Race]

The 39-year-old Verlander has had a remarkable season coming back from Tommy John surgery in 2020 – not only re-establishing himself as a high-quality starter but also re-emerged as a striker genuine with a legit chance at his third Cy Young. Reward. Missing even a few warm-ups can prove a deciding factor, especially with Dylan stopped and Alek Manoah spiked towards the end of the season, but Verlander’s 1.84 ERA still topped the American League pitchers. However, he has now dropped to 18th in the league in the innings that have been launched, narrowing any lead he may have previously held on the field. He’ll also be back without a minor league rehabilitation period, so maybe ‘Stros will be a little more cautious than usual with his workload during the first outing.

The extent to which Verlander can bounce back from this calf problem will be told in relation to the Cy Young race, although the focus of the team is certainly just for him to build up full strength for the post-season run. Their now inevitable league. With 20 games left to play and a 12.5-game lead in the AL West, Houston didn’t mathematically reach the division crown, but it was a fait colleague at this intersection. The Astros have the best record in the American League and the second best in baseball, behind only the Dodgers, positioning them in the first round of bye in this year’s newly expanded 12-team playoff format.

That would give Houston the luxury of a rotation arrangement but the team deems appropriate. Assuming he has full strength, Verlander will be the obvious choice to hold the ball in Game 1 of the American League Division Series, likely to be followed by the left arm. Frame Valdez, who received some recognition from the low vote in this year’s Cy Young vote. With Lance McCullers Jr. back to active list and age 25 Cristian Javier and Luis Garcia every good pitch (especially Javier) – the Astros have plenty of options for their post-season rotation.

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