Astros playoff bullpen looks unclear as postseason nears

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 22: Roberto Osuna #54 of the Houston Astros pitches in the ninth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Minute Maid Park on August 22, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 22: Roberto Osuna #54 of the Houston Astros pitches in the ninth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Minute Maid Park on August 22, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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CLEVELAND, OH – OCTOBER 08: Will Harris #36 of the Houston Astros pitches in the ninth inning against the Cleveland Indians during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field on October 8, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Who They Have to Rely On

Closer Roberto Osuna isn’t going anywhere despite his struggles. In the second half of the season, he’s pitched to a 4.95 ERA, which is not ideal for a guy who’s supposed to slam the door. Still, the Astros have stuck by him and essentially have no choice but to continue to do so in October, regardless of the results.

The veteran Will Harris has been the team’s best reliever this season, pitching to a 1.62 ERA in 62 appearances. A.J. Hinch will deploy him in key situations in October rather than assigning him to pitch a particular inning. When the team is in a jam, Harris is who they’ll go to, and there’s no one better.

Somewhat quietly, Joe Smith has been outstanding since coming off the injured list. He’s pitched to a 1.33 ERA and 1.033 WHIP in 23 appearances this season. He’ll serve as a great weapon against important right-handed hitters throughout October.

Hector Rondon has been solid this season aside from an abysmal July (9.35 ERA), and he rebounded from that to post a 2.19 mark in August. He’ll be one of the guys forming the bridge to Osuna when the Astros have a lead.

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