HOUSTON – As on-field work begins at Spring Training, no one doubts the Houston Astros are a talented group, top to bottom.
But as everyone knows, pitching usually will take you as far as you hope to go, to be more specific starting pitching. The Astros certainly feel good about the duo they expect to have at the top of their rotation, 2018 All-Stars Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.
Verlander finished 2nd in the Cy Young voting in his first full season with the Astros in 2018, leading the league with 290 strikeouts, while leading the majors in WHIP (0.92) and strikeouts per walk (7.84). All three figures were career bests for Verlander.
Cole, acquired last offseason via trade from the Pirates, posted career bests in winning percentage (15-5, .750), strikeouts (276) and strikeouts per nine innings (12.4). His strikeouts per nine innings also led the majors.
Verlander was a part of the Astros World Series winning team in 2017 and the Astros have won six of his eight postseason starts.
Cole made two appearances last postseason. He was brilliant in the ALDS against Cleveland, allowing just one run over seven innings, while striking out 12 and picking up the win in game two.
Both know this 2019 team has a chance to get back to the postseason and potentially get another World Series title for Houston.