The Astros’ rotation is not a shell of what it once was, it is a new era of arms, but who will follow Framber Valdez?
The Houston Astros will kick off the 2021 World Series against the Atlanta Braves in Houston, Tuesday night. Unlike the 2017 and 2019 World Series runs, Justin Verlander won’t be walking through those clubhouse doors.
It was confirmed that Lance McCullers Jr. won’t be joining the team either. However, the lack of a big game ace might not matter as the Astros’ current rotation seems poised and ready to go after an up-and-down ALCS against the Boston Red Sox.
After watching the starting pitching through the first three games in the ALCS, I tweeted after Game 3 that I really didn’t see a path for a series win for the Houston Astros. Starters were erratic, walking batters, falling behind in counts and straight up getting barreled.
Additionally, the Astros have relied on their bullpen to pitch 57% of the postseason innings. While the bullpen has stepped up, this is not sustainable either.
Naturally, some fans hammered me for overreacting. However, it wasn’t a knee jerk, irrational response to a tough loss. I was looking for a strategic path to victory, and there wasn’t one.
In the end, it simply came down to two very seasoned managers allowing two young guys a chance to mature right there on the big stage: pitching coach Brent Strom getting the pitchers prepared, and manager Dusty Baker trusting Framber Valdez and Luis Garcia will execute.
Once again, Baker and Strom will look to their trio of young pitchers and a wily veteran to bring home the Astros’ second World Series title in franchise history.
The great thing about finishing the Red Sox a game early was that the Astros got an extra day of rest. So, Baker will have plenty of options depending on match-ups, line-ups, etc. Let’s take a look at how the starting rotation could line up.