For the second time in ten days, the Houston Astros and ace Justin Verlander lost when losing seemed impossible.
Facing off against his former team, the Detroit Tigers, Verlander and the Astros’ dangerous lineup were heavy favorites to gain victory. According to a story posted by ESPN before the game, the numbers reached historic levels.
The Astros were listed as -500 home favorites at Caesars Sportsbook. The numbers went as high as -550 at other sportsbooks, according to the report. Either way, Houston was poised to be the biggest favorite in MLB over the last 15 seasons.
Then, the unthinkable happened.
Behind home runs from Ronny Rodriguez and John Hicks, the Tigers walked away with a 2-1 victory.
Monumental upset: The sequel
In the end, the numbers came back down slightly. But not enough to make this anything other than a historic upset.
The Tigers beat the Astros 2-1!
Biggest MLB Upsets Since 2005:
+451: Tigers vs Astros (Tonight)
+406: Orioles vs Astros (2019)
+395: Nationals vs Twins (2007)
+360: Royals vs Yankees (2018)
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) August 22, 2019
On Aug. 11, the Astros lost to the Baltimore Orioles in what at the time was MLB’s biggest upset since 2007.
On that day, Verlander could take some responsibility for the defeat. He allowed nine hits and four runs in five innings. But even then, the Astros regained control and took the lead to the final frame before allowing three ninth-inning runs.
Verlander deserves no blame for Wednesday. He allowed only two hits over nine innings. Unfortunately for him, both left the ballpark.
The Astros high-scoring offense had no answers for Detroit’s quartet of Daniel Norris, Tyler Alexander, Buck Farmer and Joe Jimenez, managing just one run on six hits.
Failed cycle bid
Adding to the Astros pain was the manner in which Wednesday’s loss ended.
Catcher Robinson Chirinos came to bat in the ninth inning needing a triple to complete the cycle. He previously doubled in the second inning, singled in the fourth, and hit a solo homer in the seventh. He then hit a ball to the right-center field gap that got past a diving Travis Demeritte.
For many batters, it would have been an easy triple. For the slow-footed Chirinos, who's a catcher, settling for a double as the tying run would have been the wisest play. He took the gamble, and lost. Harold Castro started a perfect relay that resulted in Chirinos being tagged out at third to end the game.
Tigers troll the Astros
Don’t think the Tigers weren’t aware of what this meant, either.
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) August 22, 2019
At 38-86, highlights have been few and far between for this Tigers squad.
Beating Verlander with the odds stacked this high against them will be their signature moment.
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