Astros manager Dusty Baker recorded his 2,000th managerial win Tuesday via a 4-0 home victory over the Seattle Mariners in the second game of a three-game series that will conclude Wednesday. Baker became the 12th manager in major-league history to reach that benchmark.
The marriage between Baker and the Astros, seemingly one of convenience at first when Houston was embroiled in a sign-stealing scandal that rocked baseball in 2017, has morphed into something more symbiotic.
In Baker, the Astros have a veteran steward whose history with the game runs deep. In Houston, Baker is part of a winning organization that has helped advance his managerial win total in an expeditious fashion over the past two-plus seasons.
“It feels great whenever you reach a goal, and I really didn’t have this goal until, I don’t know, four or five years ago when I realized I had a chance, and then it didn’t look like I was going to get there, so I had resigned the fact that I wasn’t going to get it,” Baker said. “I thought maybe God didn’t want me to get it and go on with your life.
“I’m trying not to disappoint. I couldn’t have done this by myself because you’re only as good as your players. I couldn’t have done it without the cast that we have in the clubhouse. I’ve supported them big time, and they’ve supported me. We’re a unit, and this is probably the most together team that I’ve been on, especially in a short period of time like this to see them come together.”
The Astros have won six of eight games since dropping two games below .500 on April 25 and are only 1 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Angels for first place in the American League West. For Baker and the Astros, a club accustomed to winning, being on top is the expectation.
“I’m just prayerful, thankful, and now it’s back to work,” Baker said. “Hopefully, we can complete the sweep here. Now we’re getting closer to first place, and that’s our eventual goal. Hopefully, sooner rather than later.”
Right-hander Justin Verlander (2-1, 1.73 ERA) is the scheduled starter for the Astros on Wednesday. He earned his second win in his previous start on Thursday after limiting the Texas Rangers to one run on four hits with eight strikeouts over seven innings in a 3-2 victory. Verlander has allowed one run or less in three of his four starts this season, including a road start against the Mariners on April 16, during which he threw eight shutout innings.
Verlander is 17-9 with a 3.12 ERA over 32 career starts against the Mariners.
Rookie right-hander Matt Brash (1-2, 6.88) has the starting assignment for Seattle in the series finale. He suffered the loss in his previous start after allowing six runs on seven hits and two walks with three strikeouts over two innings in an 8-6 setback to the Miami Marlins on Friday.
He earned his first career victory on April 17 against the Astros, working 5 1/3 innings and allowing two runs on two hits and six walks with five strikeouts in a 7-2 home win.
Seattle suffered its second consecutive shutout loss Tuesday after being blanked only twice previously this season. They are 2-6 on a nine-game road trip that concludes Wednesday.
“Our guys are grinding,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “They’re trying to get something going, and there’s nothing we can do about (Tuesday’s) game. We’re going to come out (Wednesday) — it’s the last game on the road trip — and try to salvage something here in Houston.”
–Field Level Media