Justin Verlander
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

We know full well that the Major League Baseball season is a marathon. Even then, it’s important for some key figures to start the season out strong.

Fresh off inking a two-year, $66 million extension with the Houston Astros, Justin Verlander apparently doesn’t fit under that category.

Taking on the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day, Verlander allowed a lead-off home run to Austin Meadows on just the fourth pitch he threw.

This is noteworthy in that Verlander allowed just 28 homers in 34 starts last season. Getting the call to lead off, Meadows hit six homers in stops with the Pirates and Rays last season.

For an Astros team looking to win the World Series this season, let’s hope this isn’t a harbinger of things to come.

The team’s rotation is top-heavy. It needs pitchers like Verlander to act the part of aces moving forward.

Vincent Frank
Editor here at Sportsnaut. Contributor at Forbes. Previous bylines include Bleacher Report, Yahoo!, SB Nation. Heard on ESPN Radio and NBC Sports Radio. Northern California native living it up in Las Vegas. The Keto lifestyle. Traveler. Reader. TV watcher. Dog daddy. Sam Malone = greatest TV character ever. "Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary," John Keating.