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Chad Qualls is becoming infamous with Astros fans

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Last season with the Houston Astros, reliever Chad Qualls was one of the stabilizing forces in the Astros bullpen in 2014 along with Tony Sipp and Josh Fields. According to Baseball-Reference, Qualls signed with the Astros in 2014 to serve as the team’s closer for a two-year contract for $5.95 million with a third-year team option of $3.5 million for the 2016 season. Qualls also had a hand in the recruiting closer Luke Gregerson and reliever Pat Neshek to come to Houston in the offseason, even willing to lose the closer role to make the team better. Qualls

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Qualls wants to be part of the next playoff run with the Astros, as he was earlier in his career with the team. However, Astros fans are presently calling for him to be released because of the way he has pitched recently.

Qualls has become associated with losing lately and has become a running joke among Astros fans. I don’t see the Astros giving up on Chad Qualls right now because he is considered a bullpen leader despite his recent struggles.

Let’s look at Chad Qualls numbers month by month in 2015

Stats from Baseball-Reference

Qualls started the season as one of the key members of the Astros top ranked bullpen with impressive strikeout numbers in April with 11 strikeouts in 8.1 innings. His ERA and WHIP started getting a little higher in May, but his other numbers were relatively similar to April’s stats. However, his effectiveness started to slip, and May struggles lead to less innings in June. He pitched in 10 games in April/March, 11 games in May, and only eight times in June.

Home/Away Splits

Believe it or not Astros fans, Qualls has been much better at home than on the road this year.

Stats from Baseball-Reference

His ERA and WHIP are essentially doubled away from the friendly combines of Minute Maid Park. However, much of this success can be attributed to the Astros early success at home during the winning streak. What this does show is that if you put Chad Qualls in the game in a crucial situation with the game on the line away from home, you can’t always expect a positive outcome. However, Qualls can be somewhat trustworthy at Minute Maid Park, but Astros fans get nervous every time that he comes to pitch.

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One reason that Chad Qualls has become associated with losing in Houston has been because of the eight games he has pitched in June; the Astros have lost six of those games. He has given up one or more runs in four of those games and is personally responsible for two of the losses. It might be surprising to know that he has only allowed one inherited runner to score in June, which was Joe Thatcher‘s run in the 13th inning of the Angels game on Wednesday.

I would be surprised to see the Astros designate him for assignment or try to trade him because he is part of the leadership hierarchy of the Astros bullpen. The Astros will continue to trot him out to the mound to try to get him back on track because if he is right, he can be a real asset. Qualls is also a good backup as the closer should something happens to Gregerson. Will the Astros pick up Qualls’ 2015 option, that is another question for a different time?

As a closer in four games this season, Chad Qualls is 2.70 ERA/ 3.1 IP/ four strikeouts. During save situations in 14 games in 2015, Qualls has a 1.42 ERA/ 12.2 IP/ 13 strikeouts. Stats from Baseball-Reference

Next: Colby Rasmus Is Earning His Keep With The Houston Astros

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