Houston – It's crunch time for the Astros after the stunning World Series Game 1 loss Tuesday night to the Nationals. Washington came to town and beat Gerrit Cole and stole the opener 5-4 at Minute Maid Park.
Game two tonight will be Justin Verlander's turn on the mound to try to even this series 1-1 before it shifts to DC beginning on Friday.
Here's what Verlander had to say about the start, the Nationals and much more when he addressed the media on Tuesday.
VERLANDER ON THE NATIONALS LINEUP AND THE CHALLENGES HE WILL FACE
I think they have a really good mix. They have speed. They have power. They have patience. They have play coverage. I haven't really done all of my homework yet. They present a lot of challenges for a starting pitcher, especially when you've got to get them out more than one time in multiple ways. Obviously, the two guys that are in the middle have kind of carried them thus far. Tough outs."
VERLANDER ON BEING IN PRESSURE SITUATIONS BEFORE
"I don't know if it does. I think you know what to expect out of the nerves and whether or not it will be a tight ball game, or if one run matters or two runs matter. So yeah, you do pay attention but you don't really think about it before the game starts."
VERLANDER ON KEEPING HIS ROUTINE THE SAME TONIGHT
"There's a lot of family and other stuff going on. But I think at this point my family and I are pretty accustomed to what goes on in the playoffs,and they all know, kind of like tonight I"m going to be in my own world and do my own thing and just try to be in my routine as much as possible."
VERLANDER ON COMPARING THIS TEAM TO THE 2017 TEAM
"I mean, very similar in kind of the core but I think some of the new acquisitions or new young guys that have stepped in are extremely dynamic. I hestitate to say that this team is better or worse. I think we're both unique. If we're able to win this thing maybe then I could say that this team was better. But right it's yet to be determined."
VERLANDER ON WHY HE IS SUCH A FAN OF JOSE ALTUVE
"You see the passion he plays with. You see the energy he plays with. You see the fun he has. That's just the person he is. It's not a facade. He's that person in the locker room, he lifts everybody up. He never comes in in a bad mood. He's always jovial. He's such a superstar, and he doesn't act that way. He's so humble. Always fun to be around. Always wanting to learn and get better. Best teammate. That's all you can really say about him."
VERLANDER ON CLOSING IN ON 300 WINS DOWN THE ROAD
"What a time for that question (laughter)! I think I can get pretty darn close. We'll see. I feel good. Like I said to an earlier question, I think the changes I've made the last few years to my body and how I pay attention to things is going to allow me to pitch deeper than I would have otherwise. It's definately a goal of mine."