Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker claims that ace Justin Verlander will not have a short leash in Game 5 of the World Series. That could be a mistake.

Justin Verlander has an ERA of 6.07 in eight career World Series starts. That’s enough of a sample size to call JV’s performance in the Fall Classic a trend, rather than a mere blip of the radar for Baker and Co.

While Houston did draw even at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday night, they are still one loss away from facing elimination. That would mean needing wins in Games 6 and 7 in Houston to survive, and ultimately come away victorious in the World Series.

As great as Verlander is, he’s proven human on the game’s grandest stage once again. In Game 1, he was flawed, giving up five runs and blowing a significant cushion the Astros offense gave him. Yet, Dusty claims that Verlander won’t have a short leash heading into Game 5.

‘Everyone is wondering whether he has a short leash. He doesn’t have a leash at all. He’s Justin Verlander,” Baker said.

Astros: Dusty Baker making a mistake with Justin Verlander

Dusty Baker wants to give Verlander his shot at redemption. That’s natural, especially for a manager who has grown fond of his ace pitcher. Still, he should do so responsibly.

“I’m more inclined to bring him back, because the chance of him having two bad outings is rare,” said Baker at the time. “I like to get a guy right back on the horse right away. You sit him out, the longer you sit him out, the longer they have to think about it. I wish I could start him tomorrow.”

As great as Baker is, a steady hand is not what Verlander needs. If anything, a quick hook would benefit him, and perhaps make him available out of the bullpen in the final two contests should he falter in Game 5.

JV’s postseason numbers leave much to be desired, especially for a pitcher of his caliber. Perhaps tonight is when he finally tells the pundits to shove it. Either way, the ‘pen ought to be ready.

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