He has already given up four runs in the first two innings at the moment of writing this article.
That doesn’t take away the fact he is the Astros’ best option to lead the rotation.
In 175 innings this season, he had a 1.75 ERA to lead the American League among qualified pitchers.
He did it all at 39 years old and with a full year and a half of inactivity.
There is more to the Astros’ rotation than just Verlander, however.
The unit as a whole is absolutely elite, and you can see it in the rest of their rotation against the Mariners.
“Valdez will start Game 2. McCullers will start Game 3,” Astros insider Brian McTaggart tweeted.
Valdez will start Game 2
McCullers will start Game 3
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) October 11, 2022
Quality And Quantity
Valdez, a left-hander, had a 2.82 ERA in 201.1 innings this season.
If there weren’t so many candidates (like his teammate Verlander), the southpaw could have been a legitimately serious candidate to win the Cy Young in the American League.
When Verlander was absent last season, Valdez acted as the de facto ace for portions of the season, especially in the playoffs.
McCullers is good enough to be a number one pitcher in many MLB rotations, too.
However, he is a middle of the rotation starter in the talented 2022 Astros.
The most impressive thing is that the Astros’ quality and depth doesn’t stop there.
Despite the early Tuesday lead, the Mariners will have a hard time consistently scoring runs in the series.