Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros have every reason to be confident heading into the 2018 season. They’re coming off a World Series run with almost all of their starting lineup back in place. Verlander himself is still around after that August trade that fueled Houston’s postseason run. And they’ve added Gerrit Cole after a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
That being said, the New York Yankees make a pretty strong case as a World Series contender too. Not only did they take the Astros to seven games in the American League Championship Series, but they went out and added the NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton afterward.
The AL is going to be quite a showdown, and we haven’t even mentioned the Cleveland Indians yet. No matter who it is, Verlander came to spring training with a firm belief that Houston is the team to beat. He said as much Wednesday, when he told reporters, “The American League goes through us.”
Verlander: "I think we're the team to beat. … I think the American League goes through us." pic.twitter.com/YEp8AFRFgN
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) February 14, 2018
No one is going to blame Verlander for either his confidence or planting that flag in the ground. Houston has earned that. But you can bet the Yankees are listening. And they might have a different opinion.
But that’s why they play the games, right? Houston hosts the Yankees from April 30 to May 3 if you’d like to put those dates on your must-see baseball calendar.
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