Justin Verlander injury: Astros need a better plan moving forward

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Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander left early on Sunday with discomfort in his calf. They now need to come up with a better plan moving forward.

Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander left Sunday’s game after just three innings with discomfort in his right calf. The game was scoreless by the time Verlander left, but five relievers came in to finish.

Though the relievers did well and struck out seven in six innings, rotating through the entire bullpen for the majority of a game is unsustainable. Verlander is easily the best starting pitcher in Houston, and an AL Cy Young candidate.

Overall, the Astros have one of the best rotations in the league. They need to come up with a solid plan to manage Verlander’s innings moving forward if they hope to sustain this level of success.

The Houston Astros have one of the best rotations in the league

Among all MLB teams, the Astros have the second-best ERA (3.04), opponent batting average (.215) and third-best WHIP (1.12). Verlander has been the most reliable starting pitcher in Houston. He’s produced an ERA of 1.84, batting average against of .190 and WHIP of 0.86.

Framber Valdez and Jose Urquidy are the two next best options to start. Valdez has produced an ERA of 2.65, BAA of .213 and WHIP of 1.13 this season. Urquidy has produced an ERA of 3.69, BAA of .241 and WHIP of 1.14.

Still, without Verlander, Houston’s rotation suddenly becomes quite beatable. Considering he’s coming off Tommy John surgery, any ailment is a sign that he’s laboring at this point in the year. Skipping a start or two could be beneficial to the team’s long-term goal — another World Series trophy.

The Astros don’t have much time to experiment with their talent considering they have 100 percent playoff odds and a 14.5 percent chance of winning the World Series (according to FanGraphs). There’s a lot on the line, and they need to figure something out quickly if they want to continue their high success.

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