Although out of the lineup to start the second game, Diaz entered in the fourth inning, following Jeremy Peña’s exit with right-knee discomfort. Peña is now listed day-to-day and will likely be unavailable for Friday’s contest.
This puts the Astros in thin scenario, while the club wouldn’t drop a bullpen arm to add J.J. Matijevic — who doesn’t offer much beyond first base and left field — to the bench. The infield group is dealing with ailments between Peña and Diaz, so there isn’t room to option Niko Goodrum for a reliever.
With the six-man rotation in play, the bullpen can’t afford to lose an arm, but the Astros could adjust the pitching staff prior to game time Friday?
The Astros used seven of their eight relievers Thursday, so could Ronel Blanco be joining the roster in Washington?
Ronel Blanco was added to the taxi squad Thursday, while Seth Martinez joined the roster as the 27th man for the second game of the doubleheader. Martinez worked 1.2 innings, allowing only a hit to his three strikeouts.
But after 25 pitches, Martinez could be unavailable Friday. The only other relief arm that would likely be optioned is Bryan Abreu — who threw 45 pitches in the first game Thursday and won’t be available for two or three games.
With Abreu and Martinez unlikely to contribute Friday and Saturday, Blanco could be added to the 26-man roster with both Abreu and Martinez being optioned. One of the two active relievers will be either optioned to Triple-A Sugar Land or to the taxi squad, as the Astros play six-straight road games with a seven-man bullpen.
Placing one of the arms on the taxi squad for the weekend would behoove the Astros, as they get back on track from using seven relievers over two games Thursday.
The Astros return to action in Washington with a different slate of starters. According to multiple reports, the probable starters are Framber Valdez for Friday, Cristian Javier for Saturday and Justin Verlander for Sunday.