The Houston Astros Bullpen is Now a Strength for the Team
Through the many trials and tribulations that have been the Houston Astros 2016 season, you aren’t always sure what you are going to get. The Astros have become very creative in finding ways to lose games thus far. Whether it is a trio of 2-1 losses in a row, an 11-1 shellacking, or letting a ball drop for lack of communication, they have played every card.
One thing that contributed to the early season losses was the bullpen (and everything else). Ken Giles gave up a home run to anything with two legs, and lefties were hitting .350 against our lefty specialist, and Neshek had an ERA north of 5.
Lately, though, we have seen a drastic turnaround. Every current relief pitcher we have except for Gregerson, has an ERA under 2.80 in May, unbelievable. Scott Feldman has reinvented himself to the tune of a 2.79 ERA, sporting a fastball we have never seen before in Houston. Will Harris has been. Harris, not allowing a run this month and none since his first outing of the season in New York. Neshek has submarined himself to a 2.70 ERA, and Tony Sipp is getting everyone out these days with a sub 2 ERA.
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The two guys that I am excited about are the two I left out: Ken Giles and Michael Feliz. Giles had no room for error after the trade he was involved in, but April was a giant error in itself. He allowed 10 earned runs in ten innings as well as giving up four home runs. Every pitch he made was criticized as Vincent Velasquez thrived in Philadelphia.
The only pitcher on the team who was worse than Giles in April was a young man name Michael Feliz, the 22-year-old fireballer had an abysmal 15.19 ERA to the tune of 9 earned runs in 5 1/3 innings, with three balls leaving the yard.
It’s like a flip was switched for both. Giles is proven but just needed one great outing to regain his confidence. Feliz is extremely talented but needed just one last tune up in the minor leagues. Ever since these things happened these guys have been fire.
Nothing is more fun than seeing your guys throw upper 90’s out of the bullpen effectively in close games, and that is exactly what these two men have done.
2.16 ERA .161 BAA – 8.1 IP 10 K
0.71 ERA .073 BAA – 12.2 IP 22 K
While the rest of the bullpen is also doing outstanding, effective power arms in the back end of the pen are very crucial, and it’s something Houston hasn’t possessed since the Jose Valverde days. Sandwich Will -not-allow-runs Harris between these two guys and we are down to a six-inning ball game. Although at least right now there seem to be no bad choices in the Astros bullpen. The problem now isn’t whether we can hold other teams, it’s whether we can score on them.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***