After a less than stellar outing last Friday, Astros Collin McHugh rebounded with a productive 3 and 2/3 innings, allowing two runs off three hits with five strikeouts in last night’s appearance with the Hooks.
I’ve hoped for Collin McHugh to return to the Astros with the same form he’s had in the past two seasons. After falling to elbow discomfort during spring training, it was unclear whether the right-hander would be able to find this form, let alone return at all. These type of ailments can linger and worsen, but last night’s outing was another step in the right direction.
Last Night’s Key Items
Collin was able to throw 53 pitches, generating five strikeouts in the 3.2 innings pitched. He was solid in the first three innings. It’s obvious he was more comfortable and capable of commanding the baseball. One stat that is even better than the rest, he did not allow any walks in this appearance. McHugh found the strike zone often. All in all, this was exactly what McHugh needed in his second appearance.
Following the normal protocol, McHugh will pitch again in 5 days. That would have Collin pitching next Monday for the Hooks. Perhaps they push him back to pitch in Midland on the 12th(next Wednesday). It is fair to say he will at least see two more starts as a part of the Hooks, and the pitch count should increase. I don’t believe McHugh will move up to Triple-A Fresno without hitting 70 or more pitches beforehand.
The Long Term Outlook
The better McHugh gets, the better the Astros starting rotation gets heading into the second half of the season. With Keuchel working towards a rehab assignment, it’s realistic the team will have all starting pitchers back in August.
The Astros will have plenty of options at the trade deadline as well. All in all, the return of Collin McHugh is a great thing for the Astros, but also gives them a lot to consider heading into the trade deadline.
***Stats and Data courtesy of Jake Kaplan, Len Hayward, and Chris Thomasson KIll***