Houston Astros starter Justin Verlander has received his fair share of criticism over the course of his career for failing to take his regular season form to World Series play.
A multiple Cy Young winner, Verlander has the worst ERA among pitchers with at least 25 frames in the Fall Classic, at 6.07.
In his Game 1 start last week against the Philadelphia Phillies, he conceded five earned runs in five innings, and didn’t put his team in a position to succeed.
Dusty Baker, his manager, also received some blame for Verlander’s performance because he didn’t take him out sooner.
That day, Verlander opened his outing with three perfect innings, adding four strikeouts.
Everything started to unravel in the fourth, when he allowed three singles, a walk and a double to Phillies hitters, as they produced three runs.
Baker Left Verlander In Far Too Long In Game 1
In the fifth, he surrendered a leadoff double and a walk, yet Baker left him in the game.
After getting Rhys Hoskins to pop out, Verlander conceded a two-run double to J.T. Realmuto.
If you were wondering if Baker would have a short leash on Verlander tonight as he takes the mound in Game 5, think again.
“Dusty Baker: ‘Everybody’s wondering if he has a short leash? He doesn’t have a leash at all. He’s Justin Verlander,’” Astros insider Brian McTaggart tweeted, quoting the Astros skipper.
Dusty Baker: “Everybody’s wondering if he has a short leash? He doesn’t have a leash at all. He’s Justin Verlander.”
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) November 3, 2022
It’s nice he shows faith in his number one pitcher, but that shouldn’t be his approach after watching what happened in Game 1 of the series.
Verlander gave him three perfect innings, and struggled to complete the fourth one.
Asking a fifth one was both risky and unnecessary, and he ended up paying for it with the loss.