Astros tap Justin Verlander to seal series win over Royals

Credit: Brad Penner – USA TODAY Sports

Halfway through their final attempt to use a six-man rotation, the Houston Astros aren’t quite getting the results they expected.

The Astros are hoping ace Justin Verlander can end their bumpy start streak on Thursday in the final of a four-game series against the visiting Kansas City Royals.

Before veteran Jake Odorizzi joined the rotation on Monday after a 48-day stint on the disabled list, the Astros had an outstanding streak of starting pitches that included allowing a run or none in eight of nine games. previous ones.

Afterwards, Odorizzi, Luis Garcia and Cristian Javier, the record-breaking pitcher in the Astros’ 7-4 loss to the Royals on Wednesday, each allowed five runs. This right-handed trio worked a combined 15 1/3 innings and allowed 21 hits and five walks.

There are three starters left before the Astros complete a trip on their extended order.

“We’ll see how it works,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said. “And if it doesn’t work after a few turns or a turn and a half, we will make adjustments accordingly.”

Rotation issues aside, it’s not like the Astros are struggling overall. Wednesday’s loss ended Houston’s eight-game winning streak and was only the Astros’ fourth loss in 20 games.

Verlander (10-3, 2.03 ERA) will look to launch the Astros to a series win on Thursday. He recorded eight scoreless innings in his previous start, limiting the New York Mets to two hits and a walk with six strikeouts in a 2-0 victory on June 29.

The 39-year-old veteran is 4-1 with a 1.65 ERA and .501 opposing OPS in his last five starts and 32 2/3 innings.

Verlander is 23-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 45 career starts against the Royals. It has more wins against Kansas City than against any other club.

Kris Bubic (1-5, 7.06 ERA) is the slated starter for the Royals, who are hoping to split the series.

The 24-year-old southpaw didn’t consider the decision in the Royals’ 4-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, when he allowed two runs on five hits and three walks with four strikeouts in 4 2/3. sleeves. It was the second time in his last three outings that he allowed two runs or less.

Bubic is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA over six starts after his lone relief appearance this season on May 11 at Texas.

In his only career appearance against the Astros, Bubic didn’t consider the decision in the Royals’ 6-0 win over the Astros on June 4. He allowed five hits and three walks and recorded three strikeouts in five scoreless innings. The outing was his only scoreless start to the season and only the third of his career.

After blowing a five-point lead in Game 1 of the series and a pair of two-point leads on Tuesday, the Royals took a four-point lead on Wednesday thanks in part to the production of Andrew Benintendi. The left fielder reached base four times and scored three runs on his 28th birthday.

Benintendi hit in an insurance run with a brace in the ninth inning, then scored on a MJ Melendez single.

“Adding against a team like (Houston) is even more important, which puts even more pressure in the bottom of the ninth,” Benintendi said. “Happy to have been able to win. This is the most important thing.

–Field level media

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