Astros Rotation: Next Three Games Could Decide Who Stays In
Who Is Voted off the Astros Rotation Island When McCullers Returns?
The Houston Astros rotation is about to get a big boost when the right-handed flame-thrower Lance McCullers Jr. returns from his stint on the disabled list following his sore shoulder issue. On Saturday, McCullers was abe to pitch five innings with the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies in El Paso. He was scheduled to throw between 65-75 pitches as I wrote here: Could Lance McCullers Join the Team in Boston? He followed the rules and threw 68 pitches in the five shutout innings striking out seven hitters.
The Astros will see how McCullers feels today and will decide what the next course of action will be. Will McCullers pitch in Boston or Tacoma with the Grizzlies. What the Astros will have to decide in the next three days is who will be coming out of the rotation to allow McCullers to join the staff. It wasn’t supposed to be this hard a decision, but the pesky Chris Devenski had to come along and make this decision harder than it should have been.
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The easy answer would be to remove Devenski because he has the least amount of seniority and has shown the ability to pitch out of the bullpen. The issue is that he has also impressed in the rotation also, so where would Devenski best fit in with this team? The biggest issue with this 2016 squad has been the ineffectiveness of the rotation to keep the team in the games or go deep into games. This is something that Devenski has excelled at going 0-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 11 innings through two starts in the big leagues.
However, as Jake Kaplan points out, “The Mariners, Hinch noted, took a more aggressive approach against Devenski to try and stay away from his changeup in two-strike counts.” The more you expose yourself as a pitcher, the more you have to alter your approach on the mound. His changeup could be more effective out of the bullpen, but you can’t hide the fact that he has pitched well in his first two starts. Should he struggle in Tuesday’s matchup versus the Indians, he could be ticketed back to the bullpen.
In my opinion, Doug Fister has earned the right to keep his spot in the rotation. While he has not been a throw it by the hitter type of pitcher, he has reverted to his 2014 form of going deep into games, keeping his team in games. Right now, Fister has a 3-3 record with a 4.54 ERA. While that is not sexy, he has pitched well, just has troubles with the later innings in his starts. Plus the Astros signed him to be in the rotation.
The man that I believe might be fighting for his spot in the rotation could be Mike Fiers, who could turn into trade bait later down the road should the Astros continue to lose early in the season. We discussed this on last night’s Talking Stros, listen below.
Fiers is 2-1 with a 5.35 ERA this season, but it will be hard for the Astros to justify taking him out of the rotation following all they traded to get him along with Carlos Gomez last season.
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As much as I don’t want this, I think they will most likely move Devenski back to the bullpen. Either way, the next three days will decide who stays in and who is out.
***Stats from MiLB.com***