“That first [start] is always pretty exciting. It felt like Opening Day,” Verlander said. “You get happy to get out there and be part of a new team. But then once that’s over, it’s kind of like business as usual. Go back to my routine and get ready for my next start.”
With six days off in between starts, Verlander threw two bullpen sessions in Oakland to try and stay sharp. He’s done that for most of the season, going 11-8 with a 3.74 ERA across 29 starts.
For the Angels, right-hander Garrett Richards will make his second start since returning from an irritated nerve in his right biceps. Richards left his season-opening outing with the injury on Apr. 5.
In his return against the A’s on Sept. 5, Richards allowed one run in 3 1/3 innings, striking out three. The righty threw 52 pitches after manager Mike Scioscia said he’d be around a 50-pitch limit, and will likely have a limited pitch count again on Tuesday.
• Verlander and Richards have some of the game’s elite spin rates across their arsenals, including two of the highest-spin four-seamers in the Majors, which were on display in their last starts. Verlander’s fastball averaged 2,573 rpm in his Astros debut, the highest by any pitcher in a start this September. Richards averaged 2,564 rpm in his first start since April, third highest by a starter in a game this month.
• Richards will be making his first start at Angel Stadium since April 25, 2016. In his career, he’s 22-12 with a 3.41 ERA at his home ballpark.
• Albert Pujols has fared well against Verlander in his career, going 7-for-21 with three doubles and a homer.
• Verlander has had success against Mike Trout, but when Trout hits the right-hander, he hits him hard, as both of his hits in 16 at-bats are homers.