Houston Astros: Positives from Loss to Rangers on Monday Night

3 of 4

He’s Back!!! Chad Qualls can Pitch Again!

May 29, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Chad Qualls (50) pitches during the eighth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Ok, I don’t know how it happened, but Chad Qualls pitched a scoreless inning in a close ball game, and it was awesome. As much as I have ragged on Qualls throughout the past few weeks, I enjoyed watching him pitch last night. Down three runs in the bottom of the 8th inning, Qualls came in and set down the Rangers fairly easily, allowing only one walk in the inning.

Qualls has actually been pitching well recently, giving up only one run in his last nine appearances. It seems that he has had a much better flow out there since his recent stint on the DL, and the time off that he got has paid off for the Astros down the stretch.

While all Astros fans want to take jabs at Qualls constantly (including me), he has been slowly silencing his critics and turning a few naysayers into believers.

More from Climbing Tal's Hill

Now, with all this being said, I still don’t know if A.J. Hinch should give Qualls the ball every time with a 1-run lead in the 8th or 9th inning. But, if he continues his recent stretch of good outings, I wouldn’t mind handing him the ball in late-game situations down the road in September. It was definitely good to see him get on the mound and take care of business last night instead of putting the game out of reach.

Nothing to throw a party about, but solid improvement is good to watch and should be appreciated by Astros fans.

Next: Positive Takeaway #3: Bottom of the Order Produced