The Astros have a decision to make regarding their starting rotation.
The Houston Astros‘ game last night against the Los Angeles Angels gave the perfect opportunity to compare and contrast Cristian Javier’s performance versus Jake Odorizzi’s against the same lineup. And it’s becoming more and more clear who should be in the rotation and who should be the long reliever.
Here are the lines from last night:
Odorizzi- 0.2 IP, two hits, six runs (three earned) four walks and two strikeouts.
Javier- 3.2 IP, three hits, zero runs, one walk and four strikeouts.
Extrapolating further here are their season stats:
Odorizzi- 9 IP, 9.00 ERA, 2.56 WHIP, five strikeouts vs. seven walks.
Javier- 8.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 12 strikeouts vs. one walk.
These are small sample sizes but even going back to last year Javier outperformed Odorizzi. The Astros have said they see Javier as a starter long term. Perhaps they should be looking at the present to make that change.
It is easy for us as fans and sportswriters to make that decision. We don’t have to deal with these players as people and tell them to their face they’re now out of the rotation. We don’t have to manage clubhouse morale.
One need only look at last year when Jake Odorizzi had an outburst for being pulled in the fifth inning despite throwing a great game because of his numbers against a lineup third time through the order. Dusty’s response was that it was the end of the season and we no longer have time to experiment and see if someone can figure out their struggles.
At this point the Astros should know who is the superior pitcher. It’s clear as day. While Odorizzi is the veteran making more money, the best value you can get from his contract now is no longer as a starter. If you want to extract as much value as possible, you have to limit him to one to two times through an order. And that’s more productive as a reliever than someone opening the game.
The earlier this decision gets made the better. You don’t want to wait until May or June and realize there could have been wins here or there that may make the difference between a division title, a wild card spot or worse yet, missing the playoffs completely.