Joe Musgrove Will Not Start Today. Brady Rodgers will Start for the Astros.
With the Houston Astros wrapping up a playoff-less 2016 today, they had an opportunity to get another pitcher a start. The team decided to sit Joseph Musgrove this weekend, as reported by Jake Kaplan on Friday. Collin McHugh was supposed to start on Sunday but was moved to start yesterday versus the Angels. Kaplan said that either Mike Fiers or Brady Rodgers would get the start today.
No offense to Fiers, but we pretty much know what we will get out of him. He still may be part of the rotation in 2017, but Rodgers is more of an unknown talent for the team and the fans. With the Astros eliminated from the playoffs, why not give the rookie a start over the establish veteran pitcher?
If nothing else, it gives Rodgers a sense that the team has not given up on him after a rocky start. Rodgers won the minor league pitcher of the year award for 2016, but his MLB stats share a different story. Rodgers was drafted in the third round of the 2012 draft by the Astros, which is also the team he cheered for as a kid.
Let’s take a look at his stats at Triple-A and MLB this year.
Triple-A: 12-4/ 2.86 ERA/ 116 k’s in 132 innings.
MLB: 0-0/ 19.29 ERA/ 3 k’s in 4 2/3 inngs.
The Astros were going to have to add him to the 40-man roster this offseason anyway, so they decided to give him a cup of coffee. He didn’t have the save cup of Joe that Musgrove did in his first relief appearance in the big leagues. Musgrove had a dominating first appearance in the big leagues, but that doesn’t mean that Rodgers won’t be a solid pitcher.
Rodgers made his debut versus the Astro-dominating Rangers in Arlington out of the bullpen in a game that they were already trailing. He gave up five runs while only retiring two batters in that contest. While it would be easy to call him a bum with his stats, you have to understand how important a routine is to starting pitchers.
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Starter vs. Reliever.
They get ready differently than relievers, so Rodgers was at a disadvantage there. Plus the Rangers have had their way with the Stros, so hitting against Rodgers was like stealing candy from a baby. The Astros have some decisions to make this offseason about the rotation, so why not see what Rodgers can offer.
What can Rodgers offer the team as a starter, it won’t be decided in the final game of the season? How will Rodgers respond, we will find out today as Brian McTaggart reported that he would get the start. In an interview yesterday, Rodgers said that he watched videos of his big league appearances.
Rodgers hinted that during the first two games, he was wasn’t pitching the way normally does. He was trying to throw fast and have good command. For most pitchers, that’s a good thing, but not for Rodgers. He left a lot of balls over the plate which got hit hard. Like Dallas Keuchel, he relies more on making his pitches versus speed.
Not on the radar of most fans last year, Rodgers teamed up with Program 15 this offseason and worked over his pitching. By working with Jeremy Booth of Program 15, who drafted him while with the Brewers, he was able to become part of the plans.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***