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Astros: Jose Urquidy has returned, but what is next for the right-hander?

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 3: Jose Urquidy #65 of the Houston Astros pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on September 3, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 3: Jose Urquidy #65 of the Houston Astros pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on September 3, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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Jose Urquidy returned to the mound on Friday, as his pitch arsenal was in full effect for the Astros.

As the Houston Astros opened a three-game series with the San Diego Padres last night, Jose Urquidy took the mound for the first time since his trip to the injured list with some reoccurring shoulder soreness.

Considering that he has not pitched in a MLB game in 66 days, Urquidy looked pretty sold in the Astros’ six to three-win over the Padres. The right-hander finished the night a hair over four innings pitched with five hits, two earned runs, a walk and four strikeouts.

Urquidy got to 71 pitches before being pulled in the bottom of the fifth inning after giving up a single to Trent Grisham and a RBI-double to Tommy Pham, who was pinch-hitting in the inning. He gave up his other run, earlier, in the third inning after a phenomenal slider to Manny Machado that resulted in a RBI-infield hit after a challenged call was overturned.

Of his 71 pitches, in typical Urquidy fashion, he threw 49 for strikes. The most impressive part of his return was the swings and misses that were generated from his pitches. Urquidy induced 36 swings, 11 which were whiffs and twelve were fouled off.

He primarily worked his four-seam fastball around inside the zone against these high-powered Padres. While Urquidy only threw 16 sliders, his secondary pitch was on tonight. He was spinning it in at 2521 RPM’s, nearly 100 RPM’s over league’s season average. Urquidy’s slider generated for nine swings, five of which were whiffs.

As the Astros’ faithful know, their Astros have been enduring an offensive drought. After finally breaking through on a big three-run shot by Carlos Correa in the bottom of the fourth inning, it was imperative that Jose Urquidy do his best to keep the momentum in his half of the inning.

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He did just that. During the bottom of the fourth inning, Urquidy held the lead by putting the Padres down in quick order in what could be considered his most effective inning of the night.

Just based on days of rest, Urquidy is set to make his next start in the Seattle Mariners series next week. Urquidy’s stuff certainly has not diminished based on what we saw last night. However, with the end of the season quickly approaching, Urquidy is going to need to really focus on stretching himself out, being efficient and getting deeper into games.

Otherwise, he runs the risk of being relegated to the bullpen, as Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers Jr, Framber Valdez and Luis Gonzalez have been very reliable in Jose Urquidy’s absence. The Astros return to action on Saturday at 7:40 p.m. with Framber Valdez facing off against Joe Musgrove.

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