There was a time that we were praising the Astros rotation this year.
If only the lineup could score some runs, we wouldn’t waste these great starts. Remember when the Astros rotation had the best starting pitcher’s ERA in baseball. This has been a long season for the Astros, which got off to a rocky start versus the Yankees. While they are still in the hunt for the AL Wild Card, the starting rotation is not playoff ready.
With the season drawing to a close, it seems like the second week of spring training. The starting pitchers are not even going deep into games anymore. Coming into the season, we had reigning AL Cy Young anchoring the strong Astros rotation. Dallas Keuchel looked like the team ace after his 2015 campaign but has reverted to his 2013 form.
Not only has Keuchel struggled, but now add a dead arm to his resume this year. It is unknown when he would be able to start again this year. Should the Stros make the playoffs via the Wild Card, who would start that one game playoff series? We talked about this on last night’s Talking Stros.
Who would start a one-game, winner takes all game?
At the beginning of the season, the answer was Keuchel. However, after Keuchel struggled throughout the season, the answer became Lance McCullers. When McCullers had trouble staying healthy, the answer was Doug Fister who was the best pitcher in the rotation for most of the season. Fister has struggled recently. Some could say that he has run out of gas pitching more than he did in 2015.
Mike Fiers has struggled at times this season but has looked good for stretches of starts. In a winner takes all game, would you really want Fiers on the mound. He looked out of wack last night versus the Cubs with his high fastball getting clobbered in a 9-5 loss.
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Joseph Musgrove pitched well in his first three MLB games but has struggled in most of the games since. Musgrove could still be the ace or second ace on the Astros staff, but he is still learning how to get big league hitters out. Then there are the final two options, Brad Peacock or David Paulino are in the mix for the rotation. However, these three pitchers are not ready for a game of that magnitude.
The answer, if Keuchel or McCullers are not ready, should be Collin McHugh. Have McHugh pitch five innings and bring in Chris Devenski to bridge the gap till you get to the back of the Stros bullpen. I could give you the numbers for each starting pitcher, but none of them have impressive stats. The rotation should be upgraded somehow in the offseason.
There was a report this weekend that some people in the Astros system were frustrated that they did not acquire a pitcher at the trade deadline. However, teams were probably asking for Alex Bregman and Musgrove. As I said on Talking Stros last night, the Astros were still banking on the future by standing pat. I will go deeper into this later.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***