While the Houston Astros took the three-game set with the Oakland A’s as they smashed their way to a second win on Thursday, the offense ran up eight runs to Oakland’s four. The offense obviously continues to dominate one through nine, but there is great news with the future of the pitching staff.
As Framber Valdez and Jake Odorizzi are working with the Sugar Land Skeeters in their rehab starts, left-handed reliever Blake Taylor is nearing a return with a rehab assignment in the coming days. With Jose Urquidy taking the next step to normalcy with a bullpen on Thursday, Luis Garcia threw another quality start off the rubber with two earned runs on three hits over five innings of work.
While the offense rakes, the Astros pitching staff is nearing normalcy.
Every season will have its respected flurry of injuries, but as the Astros’ staff is reaching almost 100%, this ball club is picking up new levels of dominance. While there isn’t any timetables on the returns of Pedro Baez and Josh James at the moment, both pitchers have been throwing in West Palm Beach and are doing well.
With Tyler Ivey making his MLB debut on Friday as the starter against his hometown team of the Texas Rangers, there hasn’t been an identified option of seat that the right-hander is taking. In that case, we will soon find out how Ivey with make the roster.
Luis Garcia to the bullpen
As of late, Luis Garcia has been dominant in the rotation with spots available, but the returns of Valdez and Odorizzi will most likely bump the right-hander to the bullpen. While we don’t know the next move with Cristian Javier just yet, there are a few long reliever arms come June.
Javier will most likely sit in the rotation until the return of Jose Urquidy, while we don’t know when his return will come. There are a lot of moves that will be made by mid-June, but with Javier and Garcia being long relief options, the Astros will benefit with not burning high-leverage arms early in close games.
Optioning Kent Emanuel for Blake Taylor
While many fans have fallen in love with Kent Emanuel, the left-hander never made a long relief appearance since his debut. With great numbers thus far, Emanuel might be optioned to bring back another lefty in Blake Taylor. Taylor has more major league experience and an effective 2020 behind him.
The Astros have usually carried two left-handers, and with Brooks Raley pitching better in recent weeks, Emanuel must be the odd man out. The left-hander currently sits at a 2.65 ERA through 17 innings, and as much as fans have shown their frustration with Raley, the journeyman will most likely stay on the roster unless he ultimately plummets his ERA.
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Bryan Abreu & Brandon Bielak seeing more minor league time
With Valdez and Odorizzi returning soon, this most likely leaves Bryan Abreu and Brandon Bielak in the minor leagues. The two right-handers weren’t anticipated Opening Day roster holders but have stayed on due to others being injured.
While having respectable numbers thus far, both Abreu and Bielak will have to work on consistency to make their way back to the major league roster at some point in their careers. As they do have experience and options left, both pitchers have the talent to be major leaguers on other teams around the league, so keep that in mind, if the team looks to acquire key players in the future. This is all hypothetical, if the pitching staff is full.
In minor league news, the Astros have signed right-hander pitches Daniel Procopio, Jon Olczak and Michael Kelly to minor league deals. These transactions might still be surprising, but remember the Astros have lost top draft picks and are looking for more possible depth options for the future. Houston is back on the field in Arlington on Friday at 7:05 p.m. to open a three-game series with the Rangers.