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Mariners look to spoil Verlander's Astros debut

MLB.com

When Justin Verlander trots out to the Safeco Field mound to face the Mariners Tuesday, he'll put the distractions aside and set out and do what's he wanted to do since being traded: Be the missing piece for a team geared for a postseason push.

Verlander, who made his final start for the Tigers on Wednesday, waived his no-trade clause to join the Astros in a blockbuster deal completed late Thursday. The 2011 American League Cy Young Award winner and Most Valuable Player went 10-8 with a 3.82 ERA in 28 starts with Detroit, going 5-3 with a 2.31 ERA in his last 11 outings.

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When Justin Verlander trots out to the Safeco Field mound to face the Mariners Tuesday, he'll put the distractions aside and set out and do what's he wanted to do since being traded: Be the missing piece for a team geared for a postseason push.

Verlander, who made his final start for the Tigers on Wednesday, waived his no-trade clause to join the Astros in a blockbuster deal completed late Thursday. The 2011 American League Cy Young Award winner and Most Valuable Player went 10-8 with a 3.82 ERA in 28 starts with Detroit, going 5-3 with a 2.31 ERA in his last 11 outings.

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"You don't ever take past success for anything really against a next team, new game, especially in a pennant race," the 34-year-old right-hander said. "Once I get out there on the mound, I'll let everything subside, all the other outside noise, and just go pitch and have fun and try to help the guys the best I can."

Astros manager A.J. Hinch is excited about what Verlander can add to Houston's rotation.

"He brings us great production on the field," Hinch said. "Ten of the best starts he's had in the last 10 years have been this year. His stuff is really good; it holds throughout the game. As the game gets deeper, he gets stronger, which is rare. So I think, on the field, he's a power right-handed starting pitcher who can pitch to a game plan and has weapons for every single hitter in the big leagues."

While the Astros are thrilled about Verlander's presence, Seattle isn't as ecstatic about Verlander joining their division.

"I would have been fine if stayed in Detroit," joked Mariners manager Scott Servais, who will give the ball to left-hander Ariel Miranda on Tuesday.

Verlander is 10-8 with a 3.15 ERA in 22 career starts against the Mariners. He hasn't beaten them in his last four starts, though he's allowed only six earned runs in 26 2/3 innings (2.03 ERA) in that span. In his most recent start against Seattle, Verlander brought a perfect game into the sixth inning, but it was broken up on a bunt single from Jarrod Dyson, which sparked a four-hit, three-run rally that chased Verlander from the game.

Miranda is likely happy to be putting August behind him, as the 28-year-old was 1-2 with a 7.06 ERA in six starts during the month. He's susceptible to the long ball, as his 35 home runs allowed are the most in MLB.

Things to know about this game
• Verlander boasts a 1.71 ERA over his last three starts, with 26 strikeouts to just four walks. Over that span, he also is tied for the seventh-lowest expected batting average against (based on Statcast-projected exit velocity and launch angle of batted balls) of any starter in the Majors (min. 50 batters faced since Aug. 20).

• There's a chance Dyson could return to center field and the Mariners' lineup on Tuesday. He's been day to day with discomfort in his right groin.

• Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick (groin) and outfielder/designated hitter Carlos Beltran (neck/back) are improving and could return to action Tuesday or Wednesday, Hinch said.

Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle.

Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros