The Houston Astros have a new king of MMP. His name is Joe Musgrove. He’s part of the New Kids on the Block.
Last season, Minute Maid Park was home for Dallas Keuchel with a 15-0 record with a 1.46 ERA. Keuchel’s success at home was part of the reasons why he won the AL Cy Young last year. However, he has come back to earth in 2016 with the Houston Astros. He has a 4-5 record with 3.60 ERA. While Keuchel has had a disappointing season, Joseph Musgrove has taken over recently as the king of Minute Maid Park.
Last night’s start was Musgrove’s second start at home and his fifth overall start in the big leagues. Musgrove had a relief appearance at home during his big league debut that factors into his stats. Overall, Musgrove has pitched 16 2/3 innings at home only allowing one earned run during that span.
Including last night’s 6-0 shutout of the Athletics, Musgrove lowered his home ERA to 0.54. Even more impressive is his 21 strikeouts in those 16 2/3 innings at home. Going away from the stats for a second, his slider is more impressive in his home ballpark. We talked to Jeremy Booth on Talking Stros this past Sunday on why some players have more success at home.
His answer was simple. He said that in varies from player to player, but sometimes they are just more comfortable pitching in certain ballparks. While Musgrove is originally from San Diego, his new home is Houston for the foreseeable future.
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Musgrove’s next start could be big.
Musgrove is part of the future for the Houston Astros. I will enjoy watching him pitch at home. He is an extreme strike thrower which dominates at home but gets hit on the road. Some people thought the league had adjusted to him, but he showed his potential last night. Granted, it was against a bad Athletics team, the Astros desperately needed the win last night.
The Astros find themselves back into second place in the AL West following last night’s Mariners loss to the Rangers. They have 31 games left to crawl back into the Wild Card berth which is currently being held by the Orioles. They could use a few more good starts from Musgrove to reach the playoffs.
Musgrove’s next start could be the biggest of his career as he faces the Texas Rangers this weekend. While the Astros aren’t expected to catch the Rangers, they can’t afford to struggle versus them either. Musgrove’s five-plus shutout innings last night was a great bounce back.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***