Not many rotations in major league baseball have taken bigger blows than that of the Houston Astros. While losing two Cy Young candidates in Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, they have turned to in-house products to fill the void. Luis Garcia, who was called up in September of 2020 as a long-reliever and as an opener, has made key adjustments in route to benefit the rotation.
As reported by Jake Kaplan of The Athletic, the right-hander has made a big jump from using his changeup to enforcing a dominant slider and cutter. On Tuesday, Garcia made an even bigger jump, as he went a career-high seven innings (103 pitches). The 24-year-old surrendered one run on five hits and one walk, while fanning six batters.
The run support came late, as Luis Garcia continues his dominance in a starting role.
Luis Garcia’s job went from looking to three or less quality innings as an opener or long-reliever to filling in a depleted rotation. While being the fifth man starting, Lance McCullers Jr.’s inevitable return will most likely bump Garcia to the bullpen.
The record continues to break on the struggles from the late-game arms, but with Cristian Javier already showing his potential of piggybacking starters, the Astros will find another option in Garcia. This type of planning comes with benefits and possible issues.
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While having the ability to save arms from burning through innings with this concept, it also leaves two pitchers not being available every other day. You would always want your starter to push to that seven inning threshold with a quality start, but not every game will have the same outcome.
This “issue” of having seven quality starters leaves us with a few puzzle pieces as we put the picture together, but as the Astros are still contenders, there is much to be excited about. Many teams fall to a four-man rotation in October, but the Astros have deep options with Garcia and Javier in the bullpen.
Baseball America projected Garcia to be a closer by 2024 but without much reason other than his struggles to get deep into games. The right-hander has re-equipped his arsenal of pitches in route to be a more effective pitcher for this Astros’ team.
Injuries will come and go, and you can never have enough arms available. With many of the 40-man pitchers still having options, it has benefited a team that was bit by an injury bug. Even with Verlander looking to return late in the season, the Astros pitching staff is heavily underrated at full strength.
The Astros snagged game two, 5-1, of a four game series with the Boston Red Sox. As they piece together their bullpen, it was reported by Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle that Bryan Abreu, who is now on crutches, is out “a while.”
While Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel returned to the lineup on Tuesday, Michael Brantley will most likely not require a rehab assignment. Behind the dish, Jason Castro is behind compared to Brantley’s progressions. Houston is back on the field on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. with Framber Valdez on the bump.