As the Astros continue their weekend series against the surging Angels, it’s time to take a look at who’s hot and who’s not. Who’s been delivering the mail and who’s been dropping it in a puddle? Let’s start with the hot.
Erik Bedard has been one of the Astros most dependable starting pitchers of late. After a dreadful stretch earlier in the season, the veteran lefty has turned things around. Bedard has evened his record at 3-3 for the year after winning two of his last three starts. During that time Bedard has fanned 20 batters in 19 & 1/3 innings.
Bedard has likely increased his trade value if the Astros decide to deal him at the deadline. One of Bedard’s former teams, the Baltimore Orioles, are in the market for starting pitching and could be a possible landing spot for the 34-year old. The Orioles got bad news earlier this week when it was determined that highly touted pitching prospect Dylan Bundy needed Tommy John Surgery.
Jason Castro continues to hit. Castro is 12 for 38 with two homers and six RBIs over his last ten games. Castro has also shown improvement in his ability to block pitches in the dirt and should get consideration for the All-Star team.
Jose Cisnero should be the Astros setup man. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
Jose Cisnero hasn’t allowed a run in his last eight appearances covering 13 & 2/3 innings. His streak would be up to ten games if not for a couple of unearned runs scored against him by the Royals.
Bo Porterwas quoted as saying that Cisnero had “graduated” and would be used in more high leverage situations. Hopefully that means Jose will replace Hector Ambriz as the Astros setup man. Cisnero was brought in to pitch the eighth inning in Thursday night’s win over the Cardinals and managed to protect a 1-run lead to earn the hold.
Brett Wallace has collected three hits, three RBIs, and scored two runs since being recalled from AAA earlier this week. Perhaps the most encouraging statistic is the fact that Wallace has struck out only once in 12 at-bats.
Jose Altuve is currently riding an 8-game hitting streak. Altuve has stolen five bases and has scored five runs during the streak. These are the kind of numbers that a good leadoff hitter produces. Can we just go ahead and install Altuve as the everyday leadoff man? Please!
Jose Veras has successfully converted his last eight save opportunities. The Astros closer has only been scored against in one of his last eleven appearances.
Travis Blackley has given up runs in each of his last two relief outings. The lefty has allowed three runs in only 1 & 1/3 innings during that span.
Hector Ambriz continues to struggle. Ambriz did manage to follow up his most recent blown save with a couple of scoreless outings. Then, last night happened. Typical. Ambriz. Certainly Josh Zeid, Kevin Chapman, or even Jose Valdez would be more valuable to the Astros bullpen right about now.
Paul Clemens took last night’s loss – thanks to a little help from Blackley and Ambriz. The rookie was understandably rusty after not pitching for almost an entire week.
Ronny Cedeno has managed only one hit in his last nine at-bats. Defense has also been an issue for the Astros shortstop. Since the demotion of Marwin Gonzalez, Cedeno has made a couple of extremely costly errors.
Carlos Corporan has only two hits in his last 20 at-bats. With 13 position players on the roster now, Corporan has seen a reduction in playing time. His diminished role could be partly to blame for Corporan’s recent cold streak. I look for Porter to get Carlos some more meaningful at-bats in the next few games.