Late in the game with the game on the line, up comes a tough left-handed hitter, will the Astros have faith in Tony Sipp to face him?
We are two days away from the start of the 2017 season for the Houston Astros. We take a look at certain parts of the team. For this post, let us focus on the bullpen, with the focus on Tony Sipp. The problem that the Astros front office has is that they banked on a career year from Sipp in 2015, to re-sign him to a three-year deal last offseason. Unfortunately, this Sipp might end up with a sour test.
Jeff Luhnow has had a knack of claiming players off waivers and turning them into stars. You might remember such names as Will Harris, Collin McHugh, and now hopefully Nori Aoki. Sipp was once considered one of these great players, but his 2016 season left us wanting. With two years of control left, the Astros probably assumed that Sipp’s struggles in 2016 were just an off-year. They have faith in him as the only left-handed reliever.
The only lefty in the bullpen, we have heard this before in Houston. Maybe the veteran did just have an off-year. There is nowhere to go but up from here. Right now, he is our only hope coming off a 1-2 season with a 4.95 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 43 2/3 innings. He was not trustworthy last year after earning the managers trust in 2015. Sipp was one of the players who stepped up in the 2015 playoffs.
More from Climbing Tal's Hill
- Just how much better is the Houston Astros playoff rotation than the rest?
- Houston Astros: A Lineup Change to Spark Offense
- Astros prospect Hunter Brown throws 6 shutout innings in debut
- Always faithful Astros World Series champion Josh Reddick defends the title
- Michael Conforto declines Astros’ 2-year, $30 million offer
Will the 2017 season be better for Sipp?
2017 is a new season, let’s do this! Sipp will bounce back, let’s see how he does this spring. This is what most people thought this offseason when the Astros did not add another lefty reliever. Sipp came in this Spring with thoughts of bouncing back this year. The results aren’t looking so good so far. He finished the Spring schedule with his worst game, giving up three runs in 1/3 of an inning. He got the loss that game, it was his first of the Spring schedule.
In eight games, Sipp only pitched 6 2/3 innings while striking out four hitters. The ugly part is his 8.10 ERA with a 2.70 WHIP. With a veteran pitcher, you shouldn’t put too much stock into Spring stats. However, Sipp is coming off a terrible season, so the timing for his struggles is unfortunate. Sipp defenders might say that he struggles in spring training, but he has a career 3.67 ERA during Spring.
With Reymin Guduan at Triple-A working on his control struggles, Sipp’s time may soon run out. A key piece of the 2015 squad could be pitching for his career early this year. With the first seven games at home this year, the Astros hope that he performs well. Why he may still have the faith of Hinch and the front office, he will have to re-earn the trust from the fans. For the sake of the 2017 squad, here is hoping that Sipp returns to form. If not, next man up time!
***Stats from MLB.com***