Urquidy, Armenteros making decision difficult for Astros

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 21: Rogelio Armenteros #61 of the Houston Astros pitches in his first MLB start in the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park on July 21, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JULY 21: Rogelio Armenteros #61 of the Houston Astros pitches in his first MLB start in the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park on July 21, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Jose Urquidy and Rogelio Armenteros both pitched well in their latest starts.

The Astros suddenly have a difficult decision on their hands thanks to back-to-back strong starts from Jose Urquidy and Rogelio Armenteros. They’ll have to decide which of the two will get to make another start after each man just picked up his first major league win.

The team will be going with a four-man rotation until after the trade deadline thanks to some off days. It’s presumed they will add at least one starting pitcher via trade, so it’s unlikely that both Urquidy and Armenteros remain in the rotation.

The Astros will have Gerrit Cole, Wade Miley and Justin Verlander slated to start in the next three games followed by an off day, so Urquidy could start Friday’s game on an extra day of rest, or Armenteros could start on regular rest.

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Urquidy is coming off seven brilliant innings on Saturday against the Rangers in which he allowed just one run on two hits with nine strikeouts. The start lowered his major league ERA to 5.54 after his previous two starts were disappointing.

He posted a 4.07 ERA in 48.2 innings at Triple-A this season with 69 strikeouts and just 11 walks. He’s struck out 17 and walked only one batter in 13 big league innings, so he’s certainly deserving of another look.

Armenteros also allowed one run on two hits, striking out six and walking two in five innings on Sunday. He’s given up just three earned runs in 14 innings of work with the Astros, so he’s been more effective overall at the big league level.

However, he struggled to a 5.05 ERA at Round Rock, though he did post a 3.74 ERA in Triple-A in 2018 and a 2.07 ERA there in 2017. He also struggled a bit with his fastball command on Sunday, so Urquidy looked a bit more impressive and went deeper in his start than Armenteros did.

At this point, choosing between the two seems like splitting hairs. For the time being, both will probably remain on the big league roster. Whichever one doesn’t get the start on Friday can pitch in long relief. If Friday’s start doesn’t go well, the other can simply step up if needed. My guess would be that Urquidy gets the start.

With a mere 10 days until the trade deadline, the Astros should be adding to the rotation in some form within that span. Still, with Brad Peacock likely out for a while longer, one of these guys may be needed for a few more starts.

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If all else fails, Cy Sneed could rejoin the team and be the fifth starter, as he’s shown enough to be given that chance. Either way, it’s good to have the depth the Astros suddenly find themselves with, though it doesn’t lessen their need for rotation help.

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