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Astros: Wade Miley’s playoff roster spot in jeopardy

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - SEPTEMBER 15: Starting pitcher Wade Miley #20 of the Houston Astros throws in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - SEPTEMBER 15: Starting pitcher Wade Miley #20 of the Houston Astros throws in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
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Wade Miley‘s postseason role is in question after his latest bad outing.

After his start on Sept. 15 in which he allowed two runs in six innings, Wade Miley looked to have turned a corner. Unfortunately he struggled again on Saturday, raising questions as to whether the Astros can even count on him in the postseason.

Miley recorded only three outs against the Angels, allowing four runs on four hits, a walk and a hit batter. This comes on the heels of consecutive starts earlier this month in which he recorded only one out combined while allowing 12 earned runs.

Coming into September, Miley was among the league leaders with a 3.06 ERA and had a sterling 13-4 record. But his ERA has jumped to 3.91 in just four starts as hitters have simply teed off on him.

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At this point, it’s still a mystery as to the reason for his sudden ineffectiveness. Perhaps there’s an injury hampering him or something is off with his mechanics. I have a hunch he may be tipping his pitches, but the team hasn’t found any evidence of that so far.

The bottom line for the team, however, is that unless he can stage a quick and stark turnaround, Miley simply can’t be trusted to start a game this postseason. If he can’t throw more than one inning effectively, he also can’t be counted on out of the bullpen.

Other Options

For the time being, Jose Urquidy actually looks like the best option for a fourth starter. He has had a couple of bad games this year, but he’s also had several good ones as well. He’s allowed three earned runs in his last 12 innings of work, including allowing one run in three innings of relief of Miley on Saturday.

There’s a possibility that Brad Peacock could be used as a starter, but it’s not certain if he’ll be ready. He may rejoin the team soon, but stretching him out to be a starter may be another matter entirely. AJ Hinch might prefer to have him in the bullpen anyway.

Framber Valdez may represent the remaining option, but he’s not pitched particularly well of late. The Astros would probably only turn to him if they were desperate.

Of course the other option could be to go with a three-man rotation. This would require Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke to pitch on short rest throughout the postseason. Considering they’ve all had full workloads this season, that may not be the ideal scenario.

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It would, of course, be preferable for the pre-September Miley to start games in the playoffs, but time will tell if that’s even an option. If not, it may be best for the team to bank on the upside of Urquidy to help them in their quest for another championship.

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