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Houston Astros: 16 Astros Resolutions for 2016

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#15: Leave work on time and stop working late hours

Oct 14, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Tony Sipp heads for the dugout after being relieved in the 7th inning against the Kansas City Royals in game five of the ALDS at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Increase bullpen efficiency to lock down the 9th inning

By: Colin Gay

As the American League’s worst bullpen in 2014, the Houston Astros had nowhere to go but up. They actually thrived in 2015 as the fourth best bullpen in the AL. However, if the Astros want to become a contender in the playoffs, a New Year’s resolution still has to be improving your bullpen.

The talent is there. The trade for Ken Giles a couple of weeks ago answered the need for lights out closer. It’s not that Luke Gregerson was bad. Last season in his first year as an Astro and as a full-time closer, he finished with a 3.10 ERA and 31 saves in 36 opportunities. Gregerson also finished with his best WHIP (walks and hit per innings pitched) since 2010 with .951.

However, this goes to show what one game can do to revamp an entire bullpen. That game was Game 4 of the American League Division Series against the team with the AL’s best bullpen, the eventual 2015 World Series champion, the Kansas City Royals. After the Astros had led 6-2 in the eighth inning, the Royals scored five times off of relievers Will Harris, Tony Sipp, and Gregerson. To top it all off, Josh Fields gave up an Eric Hosmer two-run homer in the ninth to seal the deal.

Although they have improved the bullpen drastically this past season, the Astros have already found the answer to lock down the ninth. Even though they didn’t look so good in that Game 4, this bullpen, with Giles, should be much improved next season.

Next: #14: Spend more time with your kids

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