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Astros: Wade Miley, Jose Urquidy remain in mix to start ALDS Game Four

CLEVELAND, OHIO - JULY 31: Starting pitcher Jose Urquidy #65 of the Houston Astros pitches during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on July 31, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - JULY 31: Starting pitcher Jose Urquidy #65 of the Houston Astros pitches during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on July 31, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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The Astros have yet to announce a starting pitcher for a potential ALDS Game Four.

The Astros announced their starting pitchers for the first three games of the ALDS against the Rays beginning Friday. Justin Verlander will take the ball in Game One, Gerrit Cole in Game Two and Zack Greinke in Game Three. No surprises there. But the fates of Wade Miley and Jose Urquidy remain a mystery.

Should the best-of-five series go to a fourth game, it’s not clear who would be in line to start.  Miley and Urquidy are the prime candidates, and there’s a case to be made for each of them. The Astros have essentially confirmed that both will be on the playoff roster, but have not hinted at who would take the mound in Game Four.

Their Cases

Miley, of course, has the most experience. He’s the only left-hander in the rotation and is a veteran coming off a solid overall season. He was one of the 10 best starters in the league for most of the year and ended up with a 14-6 record and 3.98 ERA.

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The knock on him is he had a dreadful September, pitching to a 16.68 ERA in five starts. He threw only 11.1 innings total, failing to record more than three outs in three of those five outings. This has to make it difficult for the Astros to trust him in an ALDS game.

Urquidy has significantly less experience, having only thrown 41 major league innings as a rookie this season. Still, he posted a 2-1 record and 3.95 ERA in seven starts and two relief appearances, displaying an ability to throw strikes and get hitters out.

What helps his case is he was brilliant in September. He pitched to a 1.50 ERA in 18 innings, including an impressive six innings of scoreless ball on Sept. 27. He got hot at the right time and could be the more reliable option, in spite of his rookie status.

When We’ll Know

The Astros may not announce a starter for ALDS Game Four at least until they know there will be one. If they win the first two games at home, they could bank on closing out the series with Greinke in Game Three.

However, should they lose two of the first three games and face elimination in Game Four, they could instead run with Verlander on short rest. It won’t happen unless their backs are against the wall, but it would be an option if need be.

Otherwise, we’ll have to see if either Miley or Urquidy is used in relief in the first two games. If one of them comes out of the bullpen, we may have our answer. Miley is the only lefty on the staff, but Urquidy has been more effective of late, so if a multiple-inning reliever is needed, AJ Hinch‘s decision may reveal itself.

Next. ALDS Playoffs Preview. dark

Until then, the Astros have a dominant trio of aces lined up to face the Rays. Check out our series preview and tune in as the team tries to Take It Back.

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