Houston Astros Ace Justin Verlander Scratched From Start vs. Detroit Tigers

Justin Verlander was initially pegged as the Houston Astros' starting pitcher for Saturday's game against the Detroit Tigers, but he was scratched due to neck discomfort.
Jun 9, 2024; Anaheim, California, USA;  Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) pitches during the third inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium.
Jun 9, 2024; Anaheim, California, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) pitches during the third inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. / Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander has been scratched from his scheduled start against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, the team has announced.

Spencer Arrighetti, who was supposed to start Sunday, will now pitch Saturday. Manager Joe Espada told reporters that the Astros would be skipping over Verlander in the rotation, so he won't start on Sunday either.

Verlander told reporters he has been dealing with neck discomfort for a couple weeks, even if it didn't cause him to miss an appearance prior to Saturday.

"Been able to kinda navigate through it, but talked with the trainers and the team with the couple off days we had around this, thought it'd probably be best to really try to get over the hump and hopefully resolve this thing for good," Verlander said.

The 41-year-old righty said if the Astros were in the playoffs, he would probably continue pitching through the neck stiffness, but that he's "trying not to be stupid about it."

Verlander is 3-2 with a 3.95 ERA, 1.211 WHIP, 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings and a 0.5 WAR through 10 starts in 2024. He didn't make his season debut until April 19 after suffering a shoulder injury in the offseason.

As one of the most accomplished pitchers in the game, every game Verlander starts automatically becomes a high-profile matchup. Saturday's showdown was set to be extra special, however, considering it was against his former team.

Verlander got his start in Detroit, and he played for the Tigers from 2005 to 2017. In that span, he became a Rookie of the Year, a Cy Young, an MVP and a six-time All-Star, going 183-114 with a 3.49 ERA, 1.191 WHIP and a 56.6 WAR.

The Tigers eventually traded Verlander to the Astros in 2017, and he won his first World Series title that same season. Verlander went on to make three more All-Star appearances in Houston, winning two more Cy Youngs and a second World Series, even though Tommy John surgery limited him to just one start between 2020 and 2021.

Verlander signed a two-year, $86.7 million contract with the New York Mets ahead of the 2023 season, only to get traded back to the Astros a few months later.

During his time with the Astros, Verlander is 71-24 with a 2.48 ERA, 0.885 WHIP and a 23.1 WAR. He leads all active pitchers in career wins, innings pitched and strikeouts.

Verlander is 4-3 with a 2.35 ERA, 0.717 WHIP and 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings in seven career starts against the Tigers. The future Hall of Famer will not get a chance to add to those numbers this weekend, and it remains to be seen when he will next take the mound.

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Sam Connon

SAM CONNON

Sam Connon is a Staff Writer for Fastball on the Sports Illustrated/FanNation networks. He previously covered UCLA Athletics for Sports Illustrated/FanNation's All Bruins, 247Sports' Bruin Report Online, Rivals' Bruin Blitz, the Bleav Podcast Network and the Daily Bruin, with his work as a sports columnist receiving awards from the College Media Association and Society of Professional Journalists. Connon also wrote for Sports Illustrated/FanNation's New England Patriots site, Patriots Country, and he was on the Patriots and Boston Red Sox beats at Prime Time Sports Talk.