Just how much better is the Houston Astros playoff rotation than the rest?

Joe Fernandez
Framber Valdez #59 of the Houston Astros pitches against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on September 12, 2022, in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
Framber Valdez #59 of the Houston Astros pitches against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on September 12, 2022, in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /
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The Houston Astros continue to cruise to the No. 1 seed in the American League playoffs behind the best starting rotation in the American League.

This has been a season with little drama for Astros fans as the team has held a double digit lead in the division since since July 21.

So now it’s worth looking towards October and what will most likely be the Astros starting rotation.

Houston Astros have the best starting rotation in the American League heading into the playoffs

It’s not really a question of if the Astros have the best starting pitching in the American League but by how wide a margin. They lead the American League in starters wins with 72. The next closest is the Seattle Mariners with 51.

People say the win stat is overrated for pitchers but it does show that Astros starters go deep into games compared to other pitchers who are “two times through the batting order” starters who get pulled after five or six innings every time.

The Astros rotation earns its wins by averaging just a touch under six inning per start. By comparison the Tampa Bay Rays are last in innings per start with 4.6. These are the two different philosophies perfectly exemplified as the Rays stick to the two times through the order then hand it over to flame throwers in the bullpen strategy vs the Astros more traditional approach of “if they’re throwing well let ’em keep throwing.”

Beyond that the Astros starters lead the American League in ERA, quality starts, strikeouts, opponent batting average and are tied for the lead in WHIP with the New York Yankees.

So considering the Astros have what most would objectively agree is the best starting rotation in the American League if not all of baseball this will be a bit nitpicky when putting out the concerns for each starter.

We’re going to focus on the biggest positive and the biggest concern each Astros pitcher has going into the postseason in the order they would likely appear in the American League Division Series.

Starting with the obvious.

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