Is Hector Rondon October ready for the Astros?
Despite his recent struggles, many expect that it is a lock that Hector Rondon makes the Astros ALDS roster. Rondon started the season off as one of the best relievers on the team and was rewarded with the closing gig. For a while, Hinch trusted Rondon to get the job done in most situations. In the first half of the season, Rondon responded with a 1.57 ERA while striking out 44 hitters in 34 1/3 innings. He had eight saves in the first half, all stats via Baseball-Reference.
Rondon has not been terrible the entire second half of the season, but he had struggled when it meant the most. In the second half, Rondon posted a 5.47 ERA with only 23 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings. His strikeouts per nine innings pitched dropped from 11.5 to 8.4. That 27% decrease is alarming considering that he could be put in critical situations versus a potent Indians lineup in the ALDS.
Do you trust him?
My Talking Stros cohost Brandon argued this week that Rondon should not be on the ALDS roster. Instead, he wants to see what flamethrower Josh James could do. Yesterday, Jeff Luhnow said that there could be some players left off the ALDS roster who could be added to the ALCS roster, should they advance. Could Rondon be one? If you were to ask Cubs fans, who are probably still fuming from losing the two most important games of the year, they would agree.
Rondon was run out of Chicago after his poor showing last year in the postseason. The Cubs played in the NLDS last year but were eliminated by the Dodgers, who went on to lose to the Astros. Rondon has a career 4.50 ERA in the postseason and has given up four homers and allowed seven runs in 14 innings.
Did he get right at the end of the season?
In the final series versus the Orioles this year, Rondon made an appearance to close out his poor September showing. As the Astros were trying to clinch the AL West, Rondon had a 9.72 ERA in 8 1/3 innings pitched while getting the loss in three of the games. In the playoffs, you need to be on top of your game. In his final two appearances, he didn’t allow a run in two innings pitched while striking out two batters.
When it comes down to the ALDS roster, I still expect Rondon to be out there. They claimed him off waivers to improve this bullpen for October. Because it was a brief period of struggles, they may give him the benefit of the doubt. However, AJ Hinch could treat him like Luke Gregerson last year and use him only in garbage situations should he struggle early.
The logical side wants Rondon to make the roster, but it would be exciting for James to be able to prove that he is October ready. After all, this team is October ready!