Astros must add another left-handed reliever
By Clint Irle
After dropping two games to the Royals earlier this week, I asked myself, “Why are they struggling with this team?” Left-handed hitters are making it tough for the Astros bullpen.
This year’s Astros have been sensational. It is apparent this team has all the makings of a World Series contender. The starting rotation is solid, the line-up is tough, and the defense is very capable. We have had some bumps on the road, but that’s to be expected. This is baseball. It’s not a game which statistics can answer at times. However, there is one need the team must address at the trade deadline, a left-handed reliever.
Current state of the bullpen
The current bullpen consists of right-handed pitchers, with only one left-handed reliever. As we all know, the matchups are best when you place a lefty on a lefty or vise-versa. Sadly, the bullpen does not have much to offer this match-up. There’s no doubt that the Astros bullpen is solid, but there is a gap when creating mismatches against opposing hitters. All in all, this is a specific need the Astros must target.
What the Royals taught us
Wednesday night’s loss to the Royals highlighted this flaw in the Astros bullpen, the lack of a left-handed reliever. The pitching staff faced a line-up with four left-handed hitters, all while the Astros bullpen only had one left-handed reliever, Tony Sipp, to create a mismatch.
However, Sipp has not been as effective as in the past and is becoming more and more of a specialist. The Astros need to acquire a left-handed reliever that can take on multiple hitters and be a force in the later part of games.
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We all know this Houston team is good, but we can’t lose sight of the fact that there is room to improve. Teams like the Royals and Indians, who do show a mix of left-handed hitters with right-handed hitters, will pose the biggest threat to our World Series efforts. Adding an effective left-handed relief option late in games would help solve this quandary.