Breaking Down the Houston Astros Wild-Card Roster

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Crush City takes shape with the 25-man roster

Tonight is the biggest game of the year for the Houston Astros, as they fight the New York Yankees to stay in the 2015 MLB playoffs. The Astros and Yankees will play a one game play-in game starting at 7:00 PM CST. I broke down the matchup here: Looking into the Batter vs. Pitcher Matchup. Earlier today, 25-man wild-card roster for the Astros was announced, there were some no-brainers and some shocks at the same time. Remember, this is a roster for only one game only, so there is no need for all the starting pitchers. Let’s take a look at the roster that was released today.

The Catchers

Jason Castro

Hank Conger

While the two who made it was not a surprise, I thought that Max Stassi had a chance to make the roster as a backup catcher just in case the need to pinch hit Conger for someone. Then again, Stassi has not seen much playing time despite his plus defense over Conger in his time with the Astros.

The Infielders

Chris Carter

Jose Altuve

Carlos Correa

Luis Valbuena

Jed Lowrie

Marwin Gonzalez

Jonathan Villar

Matt Duffy

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The starters for this game are probably Carter at first, Altuve at second, Correa at shortstop, and Valbuena at third base over Lowrie. Lowrie hits much better from the right side despite his grand slam earlier in the season to win the ball game batting left-handed. Carter has been really impressive in the last few weeks of the season, and could carry the Astros deep into the playoffs with his returning power. Everyone figured that Villar would make the team because of his speed, but Duffy was a surprise for me. Like Stassi, he hasn’t played much, but if he replaces one of the players at first or second late in the game, the Astros have confidence in him. Why all the extra infielders? Have you been watching much Astros baseball in September, anyone (except for the top three hitters) can be pinch hit for with the right matchup in A.J. Hinch‘s eyes.

Outfielders

George Springer

Carlos Gomez

Colby Rasmus

Jake Marisnick

Preston Tucker

The starters for this game will most likely be Springer, Gomez (depending on health), and Rasmus. Marisnick will be brought in at some point to pinch hit for Rasmus or Gomez, but Springer will play the entire game. They will reserve Tucker for the right situation where they need a clutch hit. Gonzalez can also play the outfield as well, so Hinch can be creative with his managerial moves in tonight’s game.

Designated Hitter

Carlos Lee (just kidding, Evan Gattis)

Lee was technically the first Astros designated hitter with his defensive skills. Unlike Lee, Gattis has shown some ability to play defense if needed to. He is the team’s leading home run and RBI guy, so of course he will be on the roster for the most important game all season.

Starting Pitchers

Dallas Keuchel

Mike Fiers

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While Keuchel will get the start, however, if something happens to Keuchel, and he has to leave early, they needed someone to stretch out if needed. Lance McCullers Jr. and Collin McHugh were left off because they were the last two pitchers to start the regular season. I’m not saying the Houston Astros have lost their faith in Scott Kazmir, but there was no way he would be used in a one-game situation with the way he had pitched recently. Fiers is well rested and can be utilized in an emergency situation, but could get a start in the division series if they make it.

Bullpen

Luke Gregerson

Will Harris

Tony Sipp

Josh Fields

Pat Neshek

Chad Qualls

Oliver Perez

The Houston Astros didn’t overload the bullpen like I thought they would, they instead loaded up on infielders with the extra spots left out from not including the starting pitchers on the roster. Will the recent performance by Neshek or Qualls, Hinch may be hesitant to go to these guys in a do or die game. However, Hinch has regularly pitched the guys in their respective roles no matter their performances the previous night. Neshek and Qualls are still valuable in Hinch’s eyes. Hopefully, his faith in them does not backfire. The surprise pitcher for me that was left off was Vincent Velasquez with his power arm, but he has struggled at times recently.

All the hard work that Crush City has done this season will become apparent very soon. With some luck, the Astros will be flying to Kansas City following tonight’s game.

Next: Ten Long Years Drought from the Playoffs is Over

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