Ken Giles will go down to Triple-A to work on pitching right after his latest implosion in the Astros bullpen.
Lost, but not lost, in last night’s bizarre win was the bullpen implosion that led to the late game heroics. In a non-save situation, Ken Giles came in to close out the Astros 4-0 lead. Fans felt so comfortable that many fans headed for the exits to get a head start to avoid traffic. As they were walking out, they probably opened their At-Bat App to listen to Giles shut it down. Much to their dismay, Giles and Hector Rondon blew the lead.
The people who stayed till the end were rewarded with a walk-off ‘play’ by Alex Bregman. The Astros would win 5-4 in the 11th inning. Unfortunately, the people who stayed or were driving home missed the biggest take away from last night. As AJ Hinch was removing Giles in the ninth inning, the TV audience saw him cuss Hinch out as he walked off the field.
The professional lip readers on Twitter claim that Giles said, “F— you man!” It was clear as day that he said that, but as Hinch pointed out after the game, he was unaware if it was directed at him. Hinch tried to deflect the situation claiming that in the heat of the battle, emotions get the best of us. He said that he would talk to Giles and figure out what that was directed at.
That probably did not happen face-to-face last night.
According to Chandler Rome, Giles and Justin Verlander left before the clubhouse opened up for the media. This was not the first time that Giles has lost his cool, Yankees fans will forever remind us of Giles punching himself in the face earlier this year. After that incident, Hinch asked Giles to pitch more under control.
Astros fans don’t realize this, but Giles doesn’t want to be bad. It doesn’t help that the fans, who stayed, were booing him. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter who it was directed at. But instead, it presented an issue that needed to be addressed. After giving up three runs, Giles was irate with himself and the situation.
They must have had a discussion with or about Giles between then and now. Jake Kaplan reported that Ken Giles was going down to Triple-A. As Kaplan pointed out, this will be the first time in Triple-A since his MLB debut in 2014. Now, it’s up to Giles on what happens from here. He can go down to Fresno and be bitter and unresponsive, or he can work to get back to the big leagues.
Not sure who made this decision, but it had t be made. It’s hard to fault Hinch with much in his stint as the Astros manager, but his no set role type of bullpen doesn’t mesh with Giles’ psyche. Giles seems to thrive in the role as the closer. He is 12 for 13 in save situations this year with a 0.00 ERA while striking out 16 in those 12 innings. In non-save situations, Giles was 0-2 with an 8.20 ERA in 21 innings pitched. All stats are from Baseball-Reference.
Lack of faith in Giles.
Hinch doesn’t seem to feel comfortable with Giles in high leverage situations, in other words, close games. As I have said on Talking Stros several times, I don’t agree with how they have handled Giles since they acquired him. At first, he was batting Luke Gregerson, and Hinch didn’t want to name a closer. There have been many other relievers vying for saves, but Rondon is the latest one.
Granted, even though last night’s game wasn’t a save situation, it was an important game to win. Giles was facing the meat of the Athletic’s lineup. If a pitcher can’t get amped up in that situation, there may be other outlying issues.
As my Talking Stros cohost Brandon suggested yesterday, it may be time for a change of scenery for Giles. Not just going down to Fresno, but maybe a trade to another team. Perhaps Giles issues stem from what unfolded in the playoffs last year. Either way, something needed to be done to send a message or help him clear his head. Giles still is under team control until 2020, so he still has value as a reliever who throws heat in a trade.
Lefty Cionel Perez will join the Astros for the second time this season but has yet to make his debut. As a starter this year in Double-A, Perez is 6-1 with a 1.98 ERA while striking out 83 hitters in 68 1/3 innings via Baseball-Reference.
Before the game today via Mark Berman, Hinch took the high road and said that they need him, “pitching right.” As Hinch pointed out, he has had great games and other that have not been great. When he can demonstrate more consistency, the Astros will bring him back. It will be weird going to tonight’s game with Giles not on the roster.