There are six games left in the Houston Astros' season, with three coming against the Seattle Mariners this week. Longtime star Justin Verlander was expected to take the mound tonight against Dominican hurler Luis Castillo of the Mariners.
The Astros still have a chance to clinch a playoff berth, making Monday's game in Seattle especially pivotal. The Mariners were expected to enter Monday's game as a one and a half run favorite over their Texas-based opponents. Manager Dusty Baker offered his profound take amid the team's falling stock in the AL West.
The Astros were expected to get a boost on Monday night due to the planned return of designated hitter Michael Brantley. Brantley was expected to be available off the bench according to a report from the Houston Chronicle.
The 36-year-old Brantley is hitting .262 with two home runs and six runs batted in on the season so far. He is hitless in his last five at-bats, but could provide a strong presence off the bench for a team in dire need of clutch hits down the stretch.
Aside from the Brantley news, Baker's Astros also set their rotation for the key series in Seattle.
Verlander was set to start the opener for the Astros followed by Cristian Javier and Framber Valdez, Baker said Saturday. The former World Series champion and Detroit Tigers superstar Verlander has an ERA of 3.44 and a WHIP of 1.17 for the Astros this season. The ageless wonder has 131 strikeouts against 41 bases on balls this season for Baker's team.
Monday's game against the Mariners was expected to start at 9:40 p.m. ET at T-Mobile Park in Seattle.