Welcome to the Closer by Committee Stage for the Houston Astros
Following Luke Gregerson‘s fifth blown save of the season for the Houston Astros Saturday, there was much frustration among Astros’ fans about the closer’s role. The Astros ended up covering for Gregerson’s blown save behind the George Springer double and the Carlos Correa walk-off single in the 12th inning. The damage has been done in most fans’ eyes, and they don’t want to see Gregerson on the mound with a small lead in the ninth inning.
Following that game, manager Hinch said it was too soon to make any moves for closer so close to the blown save. Collin McHugh told Gregerson that they wouldn’t want anyone else in the ninth inning following Saturday’s game. In last night’s game, the Astros offense extended the lead to three-runs. However, before last night’s game per Julia Morales, Gregerson was told that he would not be available in the game.
The stage was set for someone else to get the save opportunity last night with a three-run lead, who are you going to call? It was Will Harris‘ turn last night, the beginning of what could prove to be a closer by committee in which several relievers get chances to close games. This goes against how Hinch normally likes to roll, and he wants players to have defined roles, especially the closer. He also does not like to announce things ahead of time, and he just throws someone out there.
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Via Angel Verdejo Jr., Harris, Ken Giles, and Michael Feliz could get saves to take some of the burdens off of Gregerson. We talked about this on last night’s Talking Stros, and I felt like Harris has earned the job as he is one of the best relievers in the game. Harris is also in the middle of a 25 scoreless inning streak out of the bullpen, he’s a sure thing.
Brandon felt like there will be a closer by committee, with each reliever being used in a particular situation. Gregerson will still get some opportunities, but I don’t want to see him on the mound with the game on the line versus the Rangers.
The one person that I don’t see getting many save opportunities is Feliz because his value is as the long shut the opposition down type of reliever, who can go three innings. You don’t have a pitcher like that limited to one inning 3-4 times in a week. The Astros are good at looking at the matchups, so this allows for them to bring in the best pitcher for the situation.
On most teams, they might continue to ride with Gregerson as the closer. This Astros have many options in the bullpen who are better than Gregerson at the moment. Let’s hope that Gregerson does not become Chad Qualls part two.