Astros: Inconsistent closers since Pujols home run

HOUSTON - OCTOBER 26: Relief pitcher Brad Lidge #54 of the Houston Astros throws a pitch against the Chicago White Sox during the eighth inning of Game Four of the 2005 Major League Baseball World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 26, 2005 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
HOUSTON - OCTOBER 26: Relief pitcher Brad Lidge #54 of the Houston Astros throws a pitch against the Chicago White Sox during the eighth inning of Game Four of the 2005 Major League Baseball World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 26, 2005 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images) /
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CINCINNATI, OH – MAY 03: Mark Melancon #54 of the Houston Astros throws a pitch during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on May 3, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH – MAY 03: Mark Melancon #54 of the Houston Astros throws a pitch during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on May 3, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The Committee Years

For several years immediately before and during the big rebuild, the Astros didn’t have just one guy who was always the closer. Rather, they cycled through a number of guys who ended up saving a handful of games each.

The team signed Brandon Lyon as a free agent prior to the 2010 season, and he saved 20 games with a 3.12 ERA that year. He had a disastrous 2011 before rebounding in 2012. He was included in the July 2012 trade that sent J.A. Happ to Toronto and brought Joe Musgrove and others to Houston.

Matt Lindstrom actually led the Astros in saves in 2010 with 23, though his 4.39 ERA was hardly noteworthy. He’d been acquired in a trade with the Marlins prior to the season, but lasted only one year. Houston shipped him to Colorado following the 2010 season.

Though he established himself an a top closer later after his Houston tenure, Mark Melancon got his first 20 career saves with the Astros in 2011. He put up solid numbers that year, with a 2.78 ERA and 8-4 record over 71 appearances. He was traded to Boston after the season in exchange for Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland.

After making 66 starts for the Astros in 2010-2011, Brett Myers was transitioned to the bullpen prior to the 2012 season. He saved 19 games with a 3.52 ERA before being traded to the White Sox. A player to be named later the Astros received in that trade was none other than Chris Devenski.

Wilton Lopez took over as closer and saved 10 games following Myers’ trade. He was in his third of three strong years in the Houston bullpen, but he was traded to the Rockies after the season. Free agent signing Jose Veras posted 19 saves in 2013 before being flipped to the Tigers at the trade deadline.

Chad Qualls led the team with 19 saves in 2014, his second stint with the club. The Astros went this entire period (2010-2014) without having a player record 30 saves in any season. Their return to contention in 2015 brought that streak to an end.

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