The Astros need an effective Hector Rondon in the postseason.
Hector Rondon has had his issues lately and they’ve not gone unnoticed. Four of his last seven appearances resulted in either a loss or a blown save. The other three were holds. His performance against the Angels was one where he left to many pitches over fat part of the plate. High enough for just about any major league player to take advantage.
Rondon is a veteran pitcher and before being replaced by Aroldis Chapman when he was the Cubs go-to closer. When we are just before the mid-point of the season, and Ken Giles had began to meltdown, Rondon took over the closer role for the Astros. He saved 14 out of 17 save opportunities. It has been his latest outings and lack luster results that have caused Houston fans to question (myself included) whether he will make the playoff roster.
When Hinch put him out there in the 8th inning you could hear Astros nation say “WHY?” I myself had doubts, but he came in and did exactly what he’s done most of the year. He got the job done. He pitched a solid inning and struck out one batter. Most would say “No big deal, it’s one inning.” On my way back from my son’s baseball practice we were listening to the game as Steve Sparks and Robert Ford began discussing this very topic regarding what Brent Strom and Rondon had seen on film.
Jake Kaplan of The Athletic reported on Twitter about this very topic. Basically, Houston’s management saw a flaw in his delivery, which was allowing the ball to stay up in the zone over the plate. As any good Astros pitcher would do, he listened and fixed his delivery. This wasn’t a fluke he had real pop on Tuesday night, and he induced ground ball outs. He may have saved his chance of making the post season roster, that is if it was ever in jeopardy.
We will see where this takes us, but its a promising sign. Even bigger is the way this pitching staff; coaches and players are able to make adjustments and see a positive effect right away.