Six games. Six wins. Six different starting pitchers. Six different winners. The hottest team in baseball is more than just Jose Altuve and George Springer. Pitching has been a big reason for the Astros current 6-game winning streak.
A week ago the Astros skipped Brad Peacock‘s turn in the starting rotation. With Peacock experiencing some elbow soreness, the club decided to call up Rudy Owens to start in his place last Friday. Owens had an inauspicious debut, losing 6-1 to Felix Hernandez and the Mariners. That’s the last time the Astros lost a game.
The following day, Brett Oberholtzer was called up to start against Seattle. Obie tossed six innings in a 9-4 win. Dallas Keuchel went the distance on Sunday. Scott Feldman, Collin McHugh, and Jarred Cosart followed with victories of their own. Peacock was back on the mound last night but took a no-decision as Josh Fields picked up the win.
Astros pitchers have combined for a 1.33 ERA during the streak. During that time the starters have issued a total of four walks in 39 innings. Relievers have walked only two in 15 innings. In three of the six games, Astros pitchers have issued zero walks.
Oberholtzer will be back on the mound tonight. Bo Porter said he will continue using the 6-man rotation through Sunday and reevaluate the situation on Monday’s off day.
"Starting pitching has been arguably the strong point of our team. Getting them an extra day of rest this time through and giving them an off-day [on Monday] to get another day of rest, we feel like it’s going to help us moving forward with the five guys we have in the rotation. from mlb.com"
Notice Porter says “five guys” at the end. No, he’s not talking about his favorite hamburger chain. The rotation is about to be trimmed down to five again. McHugh is next in line after the off day. Personally, I think he’s pitched well enough to stay in the rotation. But, then again, so has everyone else.
But someone has to be the odd man out. The club cannot continue to work with a 6-man bullpen. It’s an extremely risky strategy. Luckily, everything has gone right over the past week. An extra-inning game or two could force the Astros to make a move prior to Monday’s off day.
Having too many good starters is an excellent problem to have. Moving one of them to the bullpen would seem like the natural solution. Which starter that will be remains a mystery. What do you think?