Lefty Erik Bedard is the latest scuffling Astros pitcher to be moved out of the starting rotation. First Brad Peacock, now Bedard. Is Philip Humber next? If Humber (0-6, 7.58 ERA) has another bad outing today it is certainly a possibility.
Peacock was sent to the bullpen last week, but after only one relief appearance he was demoted again — this time to AAA Oklahoma City. Bedard and Humber may not be so lucky. If the veterans continue to struggle they could be sent packing.
Bedard has shown signs of life at times, striking out 21 in only 18 & 2/3 innings. A trip to the bullpen could be just what the 33 year-old needs. Injuries have been an issue for Bedard in recent seasons and a starter’s workload at this point in his career seemed to be asking a bit much.
Humber is probably getting his last chance today. After three solid starts to begin the season, the native Texan has been torched in his last three outings. He has looked lost on the mound and if he doesn’t turn it around soon it may be time for the Astros to move on. If his struggles continue Humber could soon find himself looking for a new employer.
With an off day tomorrow, the club will skip Bedard’s turn in the rotation and make a decision on his replacement after Jordan Lyles, Bud Norris, and Lucas Harrell pitch. There are plenty of young arms in the Astros pipeline and the future appears to be now. Dallas Keuchel and Jarred Cosart are the two favorites to join the rotation. If Humber is out, both could be in. Jose Cisnero and Paul Clemens are also possibilities. Both have been fairly effective while working in long relief.
Pitching has been the biggest reason for the Astros struggles this season. Entering today’s game, Houston has allowed a league high 189 runs. No one else is even close. The starters have been bad, but so have the relievers. Both groups are last in the league in ERA. No matter how good your offense is, it’s hard to win when your pitching is that bad. This problem isn’t going to solve itself so I expect to see more changes coming soon.