While Roger Clemens starts in Sugar Land Saturday the Astros will call up Fernando Abad to start against the Mets in New York. The Skeeters game is getting plenty of hype and will be broadcast nationally by ESPN Classic. The Astros vs. Mets game will probably play to a smaller TV audience even though the 12:10 EDT start time doesn’t clash with the Giants, Jets, or Texans. Most fans are just tired of watching these two teams lose.
Abad will be making his first start in the majors. The inconsistent lefty has pitched as a starter in winter leagues and was recently added to the rotation at AAA Oklahoma City. I was excited about Abad going into last season. He was coming off a tremendous winter league season as a starter and was competing for a rotation spot in Spring Training. My excitement quickly turned to disappointment when Abad failed to make the rotation and got off to a terrible start to the season.
Abad had a dreadful 2011 campaign and has bounced back-and-forth to the minors ever since. He has been especially prone to the homerun ball. After another horrendous start to the 2012 season Abad started to get it together. His ERA stood at 7.71 as of May 7 and he was able to lower it to 3.86 by the end of July. That’s when he was sent to AAA to work as a starter.
Abad draws a tough opponent for his first start as the Astros face R.A. Dickey. The Mets knucleballer ranks in the top five in the National League in nearly every pitching category including wins, WHIP, and ERA.