The Houston Astros will field their starters for the final series of the 2022 MLB season against the Philadelphia Phillies. Despite having clinched the number one seed in the American League, manager Dusty Baker will play all of his regulars.
Philadelphia is still hunting for a postseason berth and were hoping to get a break from Houston's vaunted lineup and rotation. Instead, Baker stated he will play his starters for "the integrity of the game."
Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez, and Lance McCullers Jr. are all slated to pitch in the final three games that begin on Monday.
Verlander is pursuing the AL Cy Young award and by all accounts is the undisputed front runner despite missing some time at the end of August and beginning of September with a calf injury.
Another start, especially if it goes well, will only further his cause.
Additionally, with a bye already secured for the AL Wild Card round, this extra go-around for Houston's top three arms will help to keep them fresh rather than allowing them to atrophy during an extended rest period.
While there is an argument for rest, the same could also be said for acquiring rust. Baker has opted to keep the boys warm.
Regardless, the Astros are pursuing more than just their current 102-win total. It should be a fun matchup to bookend the 2022 MLB regular season.
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