UPDATE, 6:09 p.m.: Dusty Baker told the media Verlander suffered a forearm strain and “will be shut down for a couple weeks, according to beat writer Jake Kaplan.
The Houston Astros have suffered a significant blow to their World Series chances. Justin Verlander, the pitching staff’s ace, is going to miss the season with an elbow injury, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Verlander started the team’s season-opener on Friday, an 8-2 win over the Seattle Mariners. He went six innings, striking out seven while giving up two runs on three hits and one walk. He did not express any concern after the game, according to the Chronicle.
Verlander won the Cy Young award last season after completing a 21-6 season. He pitched 223 innings with 300 strikeouts, a 2.58 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, and 7.8 WAR. He tied Mike Minor for most WAR among all pitchers.
Lance McCullers moves to the top of the Astros rotation. Houston entered the year as a heavy favorite to win the AL West, and while they’ll remain favorites, their odds to win the division and World Series will take a serious hit.