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Astros: 3 reasons why Jose Urquidy could fall to bullpen

Jun 11, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Jose Urquidy (65) throws during the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 11, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Jose Urquidy (65) throws during the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /
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With Lance McCullers Jr. making his way back to the roster sometime in the coming days, the Houston Astros have a decision to make on whether they move to a six-man rotation or bump an arm to the bullpen. McCullers was electric in his one rehab start with Triple-A Sugar Land, as the right-hander tossed four innings with only one run surrendered on two hits along with four strikeouts.

The bullpen will be shuffling to start the next homestand, and with Enoli Paredes being once again added to the injured list after dealing with a right-shoulder strain on Thursday, the Astros are currently carrying two arms more accustomed to the minor leagues. Those being in Ralph Garza Jr. and Nivaldo Rodriguez.

On Friday, Jose Urquidy threw a quality start, as the right-hander hurled seven innings. He allowed three runs on four hits (three solo home runs), while fanning eight and walking one. Urquidy turned his start around, but with an inevitable move coming, could he fall to the bullpen?

Even with Jose Urquidy improving over his start, here are three reasons why he could fall to the bullpen.

Home runs

Since returning from the injured list, Urquidy has been struggling to keep his balls down in the zone and surrendering home runs. The right-hander has allowed five home runs in three starts since May 31.

We saw this issue arise in Cristian Javier’s agenda, and while moving to the bullpen, the right-hander has been excelling in a piggyback role. Many fans speculate Jake Odorizzi will be the odd man out, both he and Urquidy should be in the same boat with recent starts mirroring ability.

Decent track record

We have seen Urquidy mature into a reliable starter that will eat five or six innings consistently, but in his time as a reliever, the right-hander hasn’t surrendered more than one run an appearance. The right-hander has blossomed from a pitcher bouncing up and down to the minors to an everyday starter, but with not many bullpen outings in his career, there isn’t a whole lot to evaluate.

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The bullpen has benefitted Javier immensely, and although it rests him like an everyday starter, Urquidy could be in the same boat.

Add a better arm to the bullpen

Fans aren’t pleased with Odorizzi, and even when he turns around a start, he is still picked at for his mistakes. It makes sense why. He is the third highest paid starter and should be pitching closer to his ceiling for longer outings, so why not add a better arm to the bullpen?

Even though both Odorizzi and Urquidy have had similar returns from the injured list, Urquidy has been better by the eye test. The bullpen continues to struggle, so add the better arm for now. You can think of the future, but it is about winning in the present as well.

Next. Jose Altuve gracing Boston fans on and off the field. dark

The Astros snuck away with a win on Friday, 6-4 with a bright showing from Michael Brantley, who went 4-for-4 in his third game since returning from the injured list. They return to the field on Saturday at 6:15 p.m. with Luis Garcia matching up against Jose Berrios.

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