Astros get even more tough rotation news despite Justin Verlander return

The Houston Astros really can't catch a break so far this season.
Texas Rangers v Houston Astros
Texas Rangers v Houston Astros / Tim Warner/GettyImages

The Houston Astros haven't been able to catch a break so far this season. Houston, currently 7-15 awaiting a Sunday contest with the Washington Nationals, received even more disturbing injury news that will only upset a fanbase which has grown accustomed to that emotion so far this campaign.

Houston has dealt with severe injuries to the majority of its frontline rotation, including Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez, Lance McCullers and now Cristian Javier. Javier was scratched prior to his Sunday start with neck soreness.

Hopefully Houston pulled Javier as a precaution, but if we've learned anything about the Astros this season, it's to expected the unexpected. In four starts so far this year, Javier is 2-0 with a 1.54 ERA.

Astros rotation suffers another major setback with Cristian Javier

It's one step forward, two steps back for the Houston rotation.

If Javier misses significant time, even more emphasis will be placed on the bottom half of Hunter Brown, Ronel Blanco and JP France. Justin Verlander tossed six innings in his 2024 debut on Friday night against the Nationals and tossed six innings of one-run ball.

Still, Verlander is fresh off the injured list and surely has a pitch limit associated with his name for now. Joe Espada acknowledged that the club got Verlander back at a critical time.

“It’s good to get him back in the rotation and what it means to this club,” Espada said. “Just to get him back on track and get some innings from him, fill our rotation with the pieces that we need to move forward, it’s exciting to have him back.”

While Blanco has been an intriguing storyline this season, even throwing a no-hitter for the Astros earlier this April, the duo of Brown and France have not pitched up to par in 2024. For Houston to correct this abysmal start to the 2024 campaign, both pitchers will have to step up or risk being replaced once the Astros rotation is finally healthy.