Astros ALDS Roster Predictions: Who Makes The Cut?

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Astros ALDS Roster Predictions: Pitchers

Oct 3, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Collin McHugh (31) pitches during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Austin Swafford: Collin McHugh, Scott Kazmir, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, Mike Fiers, Chad Qualls, Will Harris, Luke Gregerson, Pat Neshek, Tony Sipp, Oliver Perez

Aric Cisneros: McHugh, Keuchel, Kazmir, McCullers, Fiers, Gregerson, Neshek, Sipp, Qualls, Harris, Perez

Issa Cook: Keuchel, Kazmir, McHugh, McCullers, Fiers, Gregerson, Neshek, Sipp, Harris, Perez, Qualls

Yesterday, A.J. Hinch announced that McHugh would start Game 1, Scott Kazmir would start Game 2, and Dallas Keuchel would start Game 3 in Houston. This leaves two more spots for starting pitchers, and Austin, Aric, and I all agreed that Hinch will probably keep McCullers and Fiers on the roster for potential games 4 and 5.

If Hinch were to give a start McCullers in this series, I believe it would come in Game 4, as that game will be played at Minute Maid Park. Hinch would probably want the young right-hander pitching with the crowd behind him in an important game, as McCullers definitely is inexperienced.

Then, the Astros staff would have a choice to make on who to start in Game 5. McHugh would probably be available, and if his stuff isn’t working, he could be on a short leash with Fiers available behind him. Fiers has some experience in the long relief role and has pitched effectively in that spot.

In the bullpen, the usual suspects remain while Josh Fields fails to make the cut. Fields gave up 20 earned runs all year, but 10 of those 20 came in September, which was a month filled with crucial games for the Astros. Other pitchers definitely struggled for the Astros in September, but with the need for more utility players in the playoff and the presence of Fiers in long relief, Fields just isn’t as necessary at this time.

I’ll be very intrigued to see how this bullpen lasts in a five-game series. We all know that they struggled in September, but Sipp, Harris, and Gregerson were dominant in the Wild Card Game vs. New York. I’ll be very interested to see how Neshek and Perez rebound from rocky Septembers, as they are two of the seasoned veterans on this team that will be responsible for anchoring the Astros bullpen.

Overall, I’m very confident in this group and can’t wait to see how they respond to the pressure in Kauffman Stadium and in Minute Maid Park. Now, let’s move on to the infielders and catchers.

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Next: ALDS Roster Predictions: Catchers and Infielders