As the Houston Astros lose their first series since their trip to Colorado, they drop game two to the New York Yankees 6-3 behind some interesting calls from Manager Dusty Baker. While the bullpen is still banged up, there isn’t much high leverage talent for late into the game, but with it being a one run game, why use an unexperienced arm back-to-back days?
With the umpiring being subpar once again, a blown strike call kept Bryan Abreu and the Astros on the field in the middle of a tense part of the ball game. As the right-hander hasn’t had much success thus far, Baker threw him into another situation with Giancarlo Stanton and the heart of the order waiting to pounce.
This move ended up not hurting the team in this ball game, but it is interesting since Kent Emanuel, who has been stellar, is burning a seat in the bullpen. Ryne Stanek hit the bump before Abreu, but the two right-handers drained their pitch counts while they allowed four hits and two walks combined.
Is Dusty Baker’s game management hurting the team’s chances of holding leads or are there no high leverage arms?
The main issue I had with Wednesday’s game is that Brooks Raley entered it, while Emanuel is on a longer days rest. Both are left-handers, and although Raley has more experience, Baker should not be going to him almost every night. Raley ended up surrendering three earned runs on two hits and a walk without recording an out, while the left-hander continues to struggle this season.
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Next came Joe Smith, who is nowhere close to what he was in 2019 and beforehand. This one-two combo is a sudden look at how the Astros are losing late into ball games, as Smith isn’t hitting his spots whatsoever. Raley and Smith entering a game together feels like all is lost, and with this series already shaking out in the Yankees’ favor, hopefully Lance McCullers Jr. has a long outing on Thursday.
You can take the final call on these moves and how the Astros don’t have more than two high leverage arms in their bullpen. The ball should’ve went to Emanuel, who has shown he can pitch effectively against good hitters.
While Baker is more of a traditional manager, it would behoove him to adapt to different aspects of the game with more trustworthy arms. His signing, at the time, was more on the overall well-being of the players since he is a player’s coach rather than an analytical genius. There are injuries, but the experienced arms of Pressly and Smith aren’t cutting it, which might be why the Astros signed Ryan Eades on Wednesday. With all this in mind, Shane Greene and Jeremy Jeffress are still free agents.
The Astros are back on the field on Thursday to close out their three game set with the Yankees at 12:05 p.m. McCullers will matchup with a fellow friend in Gerrit Cole, as this will be Cole’s first start against Houston since his departure after the 2019 season.