Although the Closer Struggled, Middle Relievers were Crisp for Astros in Road Losses
Aug 4, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Tony Sipp (29) fields a bunt by Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor (not pictured) but cannot reach first base in the seventh inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Texas won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Many will blame the Astros bullpen as a whole for the losses on this road trip because many of the losses were in close games, but if you look closer at the bullpen as a whole, it wasn’t all so bad. Guys like Chad Qualls, Josh Fields, Tony Sipp, and Oliver Perez were dominant in their appearances over the last few games.
Call to the Pen
Qualls, as much as he gets from the Astros fans about how bad he is, has actually been very good in relief for this team since returning from the disabled list. Qualls made a total of five appearances in this eight-game road trip and didn’t allow a run in any of them. He pitched for a total of four innings and was very clean. It definitely wasn’t flashy, as Qualls only tallied one strikeout, but it was clean and effective.
Perez, who was acquired by Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow in the middle of the road trip, has come in and done exactly what he was expected to do when the Astros got him. He pitched in two games, getting one out on each occasion, and giving up zero hits. Perez was very successful with the Diamondbacks and has apparently made an easy transition into the Astros clubhouse.
Fields and Sipp have also been perfect on this road trip, giving some really positive innings and outs to this team. With Luke Gregerson seeming less and less reliable by the day, there might be a re-opening of the closer position in Houston. If that’s the case, A.J. Hinch will have a plethora of candidates to choose from in this bullpen.