Astros: Kent Emanuel should be considered as a possible starter

Apr 24, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Kent Emanuel (0) and catcher Jason Castro (18) celebrate after defeating the Los Angeles Angels at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 24, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Kent Emanuel (0) and catcher Jason Castro (18) celebrate after defeating the Los Angeles Angels at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports /
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As the Houston Astros picked up their third win in a row, Kent Emanuel made history in the best way possible. While Jake Odorizzi left Saturday’s game with right arm discomfort, Emanuel recorded 26 outs against the Los Angeles Angels in his first major league appearance.

While his only two runs came off home runs to Shohei Ohtani and to the dreaded swing of Albert Pujols, the left-hander only surrendered five hits, as he fanned five batters. With there being no more information on Odorizzi’s arm, Emanuel stands a good chance as a fifth starter in the rotation. The left-hander chased history with the second longest outing from a reliever in team history. 

While the rotation takes more hits, Kent Emanuel is the best fit for a fifth starter.

Emanuel hit the bump after a troubling outing from Odorizzi that was hinted by a sore arm and pitches down in velocity. While being his first major league stint, Emanuel made history and has the chance to stay in the rotation pending Odorizzi’s status.

While there isn’t a left-hander on staff at the moment, Emanuel could be a reliable addition to a staff dominated by right-handers. As Framber Valdez is hopeful of returning to the 26-man roster this season, Emanuel is the best option for a fifth starter if Odorizzi goes down.

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As Brandon Bielak, Bryan Abreu and Luis Garcia are other options for a possible fifth starter replacement, the Astros currently don’t have a left-hander on staff that can go deep into games. Emanuel is the one to do that, and although Garcia has had a sufficient start to the season, the right-hander could piggy back Emanuel in their outings.

The right-hander doesn’t have the endurance to push past the fifth inning in most starts, but after Saturday’s performance, it makes the most sense to rock with Emanuel. His suspension restricted his progression to MLB, and his first major league outing shouldn’t be deemed a fluke at the end of the day. While Odorizzi’s injury hasn’t been diagnosed, the right-hander will be needed heavily down the stretch, but with right forearm discomfort and a drop in velocity, it is worth looking at possible short-term replacements.

While warming up well on Saturday, Dusty Baker did say he is not too worried about the whole situation, while Odorizzi will be evaluated more in the coming days.

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The Astros are back on the field to close out a four game set with the Angels on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. Lance McCullers Jr. will matchup against right-hander Dylan Bundy, as the team looks to complete their second sweep of the season.

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