Today it was announced that the Astros will be going with a 6-man starting rotation.
Bo Porter made it official today, telling Brian T. Smith:
We’ll run it and see … You look at the woes we’ve had in the bullpen, I think our six starters give us the best opportunity to win. With those (starters) having an extra day, it allows us to put one of those guys in the bullpen.
I’m still trying to make sense of that statement. Are these six guys starters and relievers? I know the bullpen has been bad and Porter has had to use a few emergency starters lately, but pitchers are creatures of habit and generally perform better when given specific roles. A prime example would be Dallas Keuchel.
As a starter, Keuchel has been fairly effective in recent weeks. The lefty has held the opposition to three runs or less in nine of his last eleven starts. But Keuchel has run into trouble in his last two outings — both of them in relief.
I’m not sure I like the move, especially considering the confusing reasoning behind it. I’d be okay with the Astros trying to limit the overall innings count for some of their young starters. And if that’s the case — just come out and say it.
The six starters going forward, starting tonight, will be: Jarred Cosart (I’m going to go ahead and declare him the #1 starter due to his recent dominance), Erik Bedard, Brad Peacock, Brett Zer-Oberholtzer (because he puts so many zeroes on the scoreboard), and Jordan Lyles. Given his recent ineffectiveness, Lyles should be a sixth starter anyway.
Notice the absence of Lucas Harrell! At the start of the year I thought Harrell was the ace of the Astros staff. But he has had an extremely disappointing season and has fallen out of favor. The rest of the starters have pitched better than their records would indicate. I guess running them out there with an extra day between starts will help to limit not only their innings, but also their losses. It seems like the headline for almost every game summary this season has been something like: Outstanding effort by [insert Astros starting pitcher's name here] wasted by bullpen meltdown.
I don’t see how a six-man rotation is going to do anything to change that. Actually, I don’t think this strategy will even last more than a time or two through the rotation. I guess we will find out soon enough.
In a related move, the Astros sent struggling reliever Jose Cisnero to AAA today. Jorge De Leon was brought up to take Cisnero’s spot in the bullpen. The 25-year old De Leon has never pitched in the majors but has been utilized as a late inning reliever for most of his four year minor league career.