The Astros currently have one left-handed pitcher available out of their bullpen, and he has an 11.81 ERA. Is it time for Houston to go shopping?
The trade deadline is quickly approaching and one of the Astros‘ most glaring needs seems to be pitching, starters and relievers. We are halfway through the season and Houston has rotated seven pitchers back and forth, from the Minors, to the Majors, and back again. Eight counting Jose Urquidy‘s Major League debut, which, by the way, was marred by the bullpen.
None of these pitchers seem to impress well enough to stick to the roster. Yes, there have been injuries necessitating some of the movement. Even a couple of starters have played dual roles this season. But there are still holes to fill, in both the starting rotation and the bullpen.
So, to say the least, there has been no consistency in the bullpen staff with the rotation of pitchers this season. On top of that, the relievers number of innings worked, month over month, has gone up. The Astros’ relief pitchers saw in increase in innings pitched of 5% from Mar./Apr. to May, and then another 10% increase from May to June.
The bullpen has simply been overburdened lately. Combine that with the inconsistency, and the results are sure to suffer, and they have. The ERA of the pen in May was 2.86 and the opposing teams had a slash line of .208/.283/.341. Compare that to June, 5.42 ERA and the opponents slashing .251/.320/.486. Relievers have allowed over twice as many home runs in June (24), than in May (11).
In my opinion, the Astros should strongly consider looking into picking up a relief pitcher before the July 31 trade deadline hits. Looking at the roster, with Reymin Guduan as their sole left-handed reliever, that’s probably where they need to start, a lefty. I know, a starting pitcher would also be a nice addition, but that is an entirely separate article.
GM Jeff Luhnow has admitted the need and has expressed that they will be looking into getting help in the pitching department. Whether that will be a reliever, a starter, or both, remains to be seen. But in the meantime, let’s take a look at what left-handed relief pitchers might be in the offering.