Astros News

Houston Astros: Where, oh where has the bullpen gone?

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SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 5: Relief pitcher Brady Rodgers #52 of the Houston Astros reacts after giving up a three-run home run to Mac Williamson #12 of the Seattle Mariners during the eighth inning of a game at T-Mobile Park on June 5, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 5: Relief pitcher Brady Rodgers #52 of the Houston Astros reacts after giving up a three-run home run to Mac Williamson #12 of the Seattle Mariners during the eighth inning of a game at T-Mobile Park on June 5, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /
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One of the things we could usually depend on was the Astros’ relief pitchers to come out of the bullpen and preserve the win. As of lately, not so much.

The  Astros‘ relief pitchers in the last couple of weeks haven’t been quite as reliable as one would like. Opposing batters are getting to the once sure-fire closeout duo of Ryan Pressly and Roberto Osuna. Brady Rodgers and Reymin Guduan are failing to impress in their latest call-ups from the Minors.

In the first 49 games of the season, the bullpen had only blown three save opportunities. Astros’ relievers have five blown saves in the fifteen games since. In that same fifteen game span, relievers have allowed 48% of their inherited runners score, while the rest of the season only 29% of inherited runners have crossed the plate.

I’m sure there aren’t many things more frustrating for a starting pitcher, than having to helplessly watch from the dugout as a reliever allows your runners to score and your ERA rise. Just ask Justin Verlander after last night’s game. He left the seventh inning with two runners on base and one out. Will Harris comes in and gives up three singles, both of Verlander’s runners score.

In Harris’ defense, I was just using that instance as an example, he has done very well this season stranding runners. The two he let score last night were actually the first he has failed to strand on base this season.

Guduan and Rodgers, the latest pitchers called up from Round Rock to help out in the pen have done all but help. In Rodger’s three appearances, he has given up nine runs and four home runs in five innings of work. That comes out to an ERA of 16.20. Guduan is up in Houston for his second stint. In his two appearances since recalled, he’s given up three runs in two-thirds of an inning.

Pressly and Osuna were the two relievers that we could depend on the most, closing out game after game. Pressly allowed no earned runs in his first nineteen games this season, since May 24, his ERA has been 3.38. Still respectable, but not Pressly-like.

Osuna was also pitching lights-out, only surrendering four runs in his first 21 appearances. In the same time period as Pressly, May 24 and on, Osuna’s ERA is 7.04 versus a 1.54 ERA in those first 21 games.

Yes, the Astros are 10-3 from May 24 to June 6. The offense has been relentless, never giving up. But you can’t expect Houston to have to keep coming back from behind late in the game night after night. It is a concerning trend that Hinch and Co. will have to keep an eye on and make the necessary adjustments.

dark. Next. Astros: The Miley Chronicles, Vol. 5: The Real Deal Holyfield?

Cionel Perez was recalled today from Round Rock to replace Rodgers. Will that be the spark the Astros need to get this bullpen back on track? Only time will tell.

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