Astros: Jose Urquidy pitches gem in first Major League win

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DENVER, COLORADO - JULY 02: Jose Urquidy #65 of the Houston Astros throws in the fourth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on July 02, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - JULY 02: Jose Urquidy #65 of the Houston Astros throws in the fourth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on July 02, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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Astros rookie Jose Urquidy pitched a masterpiece in his first win in the Major Leagues and it’s just what the doctor ordered for this pitching staff.

The Jose Urquidy that arrived in Houston and pitched last night’s game for the Astros was a completely different pitcher the second time up in the Big Leagues. This version looked like he belonged in the Majors, keeping the Texas Rangers at bay all evening.

As A.J. Hinch mentioned, the win by the 24-year-old and the ability to go seven innings was a real shot in the arm for the Astros. “First and foremost, for a young pitcher to come up and do that, I feel so great for him. Just an incredible, incredible performance. From the team perspective, we absolutely needed it.”

He took a much different approach in this game than he did in his first two outings. Urquidy relied much more heavily on his changeup last night and it worked well for him. In his previous two starts, he threw the changeup 20% of the time or less and over half of his pitches were the four-seamer.

Last night, he switched things up with 43% changeups and 35% four-seam fastballs. He also threw about two-thirds fewer curveballs yesterday than in his previous games. Urquidy recorded nine strikeouts and walked none. Six of those nine Ks ended with swinging strikes at his changeup.

His lone mistake was a leadoff homer by Shin-Soo Choo in the fourth inning, but he didn’t let that rattle him, retiring the next three batters. The only other hit the Rangers could muster off of Urquidy was a single by Hunter Pence in the seventh.

This is the type of performance a young pitcher can really capitalize on and hopefully build up his confidence. “I felt great,” he said after his first Major League win. “Just thinking about when I heard the news yesterday, I knew I had to focus on this start. And I was really happy I was able to execute on what I envisioned.”

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I’m not sure what his immediate future is here with the Astros once Brad Peacock is healthy and able to return to the rotation. But I know an outing like Urquidy had last night certainly doesn’t hurt his chances to stay up here in Houston.

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