The 2013 Houston Astros can be entertaining to watch at times…if you’re the type that’s entertained by watching gruesome horror flicks. They are a completely inconsistent team in every facet of the game. Though they have gaping holes throughout their roster, there is no doubt that the bullpen is their biggest weakness. The few games where the Astros are able to score some runs and get quality starting pitching, the bullpen usually comes in and screws everything up. Watching the relievers work is the equivalent of being forced to watch a video of your own conception while listening to Gilbert Gottfried do a live reading of Shakespeare’s Henry VIII — but just how bad are they?
This season, the Astros bullpen is the worst in baseball by a huge margin. They are worst in HR/9, ERA, walks, WHIP, average against and WAR. They are also fifth in BB/9, seventh in blown saves and they lead the league in “F-Bombs” dropped following a pitch. During the live-ball era, only the 1923 Braves and 1950 Dodgers’ bullpens have allowed more than the Astros’ 1.70 HR/9. Their 1.53 WHIP is tied for the worst in franchise history with the 2010 bullpen. The Astros relief corps are on pace to take over the the worst single season WAR since 1920. Their collective WAR is currently negative 3.8. The 1966 Mets’ bullpen holds the record with a negative 4.5, and I have little doubt that our lovable losers can crush that number by season’s end.
While I love bashing the bullpen, let me just say that I am not trying to blame the players for their failures. There are, at best, two MLB quality pitchers in the bullpen. The bullpen was almost completely ignored this offseason, and the current pitchers were never set up for success.
It’s time to make a move. Whatever trades may occur at the deadline, Jeff Luhnow should be sure to bring in some major league-ready relief pitchers. It’s also time to see what young guys like Josh Zeid, Jason Stoffel and Kevin Chapman can do. If the Astros’ bullpen is going to set records for their dreadfulness, I would much rather them do it with young guys that have the potential for a future.