Astros' Verlander named All-Star Game starting pitcher for American League

CLEVELAND (FOX 26) – For the second time in his Hall of Fame worthy career – and the first time as a member of the Houston Astros – pitcher Justin Verlander will start for the American League in the All-Star Game. Los Angeles Dodgers hurler Hyun-Jin Ryu will start for the National League.

“I don’t take these games for granted,” said Verlander.  “Having the opportunity to start another one at 36-years-old … all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes – to kind of have that come to fruition, and be able to be out here and do this thing again means a lot to me.”

A.L. manager Alex Cora – an Astros assistant coach when they won the World Series in 2017 – made the decision to start Verlander in Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic (6:30 p.m. on FOX 26).

“He’s getting better, which sucks for us,” joked Cora, now the Boston Red Sox manager. “What he’s done this year – he’s been amazing.”

Verlander is 10-4 this season with a 2.98 earned run average, and 153 strikeouts in 126.2 innings pitched. He ranks in the top five in the A.L. in nearly every major pitching category.

Verlander will be joined in the starting lineup by Astros teammates George Springer, Alex Bregman, and Michael Brantley – the first time in franchise history Houston will have four players start the All-Star Game.

Cora says Springer will lead off and play right field; Bregman will hit sixth and start at third base; and Brantley will bat eighth and play left field. Cora also expects Astros reliever Ryan Pressly to pitch the seventh inning.

Verlander last started the All-Star Game in 2012 while a member of the Detroit Tigers.