Astros News

Astros: McHugh Raises Pitch Count in 3rd Start

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ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 01: Colin McHugh #31 of the Houston Astros Throws a pitch in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on October 1, 2016 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 01: Colin McHugh #31 of the Houston Astros Throws a pitch in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on October 1, 2016 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) /
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Astros Starting Pitcher Collin McHugh posts a strong pitch count in his third rehab start, looking to make one more appearance before returning to the Astros rotation.

Collin McHugh threw 74 pitches in last night’s start for the Hooks, 47 of which went for strikes. He was able to produce swinging strikeouts but allowed two walks. He allowed soft contact and produced ground ball outs. Even though he only faced one batter in the fifth inning, the pitch count says enough about where the right-hander sits with health and recovery after outings.

What’s Next

With an Astros rotation seemingly set through mid-July, it is a fair to assume McHugh will make one more rehab start before returning to Astros. His next start will need a pitch count closer to 90-100 pitches. This would potentially allow him to make his debut against the Orioles or Phillies, based on recovery time and rotation scenarios.

McHugh’s Impact on the Team

The Astros have faced many injuries to the starting rotation. McHugh’s return gives breathing room to the coaches and players, as he would allow for someone to move and help the bullpen. Better yet, Keuchel and McHugh show similar time lines of returning to the rotation. The Astros are in for a boost with the return of their ace and veteran starter.

Next: Astros may not want to get into a bidding war for a starter

Trade Deadline Looms

The Astros are now 60-29, holding a 16.5 game lead over the second-place Angels. They have used this to be patient with McHugh’s return. I’ve felt he would have an impact on the trade deadline. Two starts from him will open possibilities for the organization. With three weeks before the trade deadline, the team will watch closely to decide their needs for a championship run.

***Stats and Data courtesy of Adam Wexler, Jake Kaplan, and the CC Hooks***

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