Astros Countdown: Top Five Second Half Storylines
The Astros bullpen has been very solid. With pitchers like Ken Giles and Chris Devenski, the bullpen has put together a very respectable 4.09 ERA so far this season.
More than anything, the Astros bullpen has been very difficult to hit against. With a .219 batting average against, which is No. 4 in baseball, the Astros lead the MLB with 390 strikeouts as a bullpen, 42 strikeouts ahead of the second place Toronto Blue Jays. The Astros are also tied for fourth with the Boston Red Sox with a 1.18 WHIP.
However, there could be issues ahead for a bullpen that averages 11.40 strikeouts per nine innings. The first is the one left-handed pitcher available in the bullpen. Even with a 1.06 WHIP and a batting average against of .188, his lowest since 2014, Tony Sipp cannot pitch to lefties by himself. He has had some help along the way. For example, Devenski has a .110 batting average against lefties with 41 strikeouts in 27.1 innings.
However, the Astros are going to need some bullpen help down the stretch. They are No. 8 in baseball with 308 innings already under its belt. Devenski is already at 52.2 innings of work this season, which leads all Astros relievers. Five other relievers in the Astros bullpen, Giles, Will Harris Michael Feliz, Luke Gregerson and James Hoyt are all over 30 innings pitched this season.
The Astros are going to need to save their bullpen if they want a deep run into October. That may mean another arm acquired before the trade deadline could be needed.