Following another postseason meltdown, it’s not hard to argue that the Astros’ bullpen has a reliability issue.
After a 6-2 loss in Game 4, the Astros are once again left with more questions than answers about the bullpen. Throughout the last innings, I continued to ask myself, “Where is Collin McHugh?”
Giles has lost his touch
Ken Giles is new to these circumstances. He has incurred a “Baptism By Fire” with this postseason. It can do one of two things to you, it either strengthens you, or it humbles you. Unfortunately, this is a humbling time for him. Giles will learn from this, and be better in the future. He is struggling with his slider, which has exposed him to opposing hitters. He is capable of great things, but he is struggling in these moments. Giles is the head of struggles in the bullpen that need to be addressed.
McHugh can help this Astros’ bullpen
First of all, I’ve watched McHugh a lot over the past few years. He can control the pace of games and stay reserved in big moments. From his postseason effort in 2015 to his late-season surge in 2016, McHugh has shown resolve in big moments. In his lone appearance this postseason, he has thrown four strong innings of baseball. I know this was in a game which the Yankees took control, but he stopped the bleeding. He gave the Astros an opportunity to win that game. He forced the hitters to work on his rhythm and was calm in his efforts.
Bullpen needs answers
We have watched Brad Peacock pick up this struggling bullpen. McHugh can do the same. He is a cool customer in the heat of the moment. Postseason baseball is a war of attrition. It requires the highest level of play and the confidence to close out games. With some many questions marks, why haven’t we used McHugh? The question is growing with the fans.
All in all, McHugh is a competitor first, pitcher second. He is the difference maker for this bullpen. In these moments, players rise to the occasion and play whatever role is needed. McHugh can do this for the Astros.
***Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference***