Just how much better is the Houston Astros playoff rotation than the rest?
Houston Astros playoff roster: Jose Urquidy
Biggest Positive: Throws strikes consistently
Biggest Negative: Prone to the big inning
The assumption is that Jose Urquidy will be the number four starter considering his postseason experience and strong second half to the 2022 season.
The best part of Urquidy’s game is also his downfall sometimes as he is always in the zone. He throws the most percentage of first pitch strikes of any Astros starter at 65 percent. The next closest is Justin Verlander at 62 percent. He also gives up the most contact on the team with the opponent making contact on 77.8 percent of his pitches.
It’s a great quality for a pitcher to throw strikes. Except when hitters are aware of this propensity they know to swing and if he’s catching too much of the plate the ball flies all over the ball park.
In his 11 starts when he’s given up three earned runs or more, six of those starts he’s given up all three (or more runs) in a solitary inning.
When Urquidy is on and hitting his spots in the zone it’s great. But if he has location issues it can lead to blow ups that can be a real gut punch if the score is zero zero in the fourth and then suddenly you’re down three or four nothing.
If Urquidy can learn how to limit damage when he’s in trouble that will be the biggest key to the Astros winning with him on the mound.
He has the lowest strikeout per nine innings on the team with 7.2. The next lowest is Framber at 8.5 and then not a solitary pitcher is under nine. On the flip side he’s tied for the lead in HR/9 with 1.4 alongside Luis Garcia and Phil Maton.
If Urquidy can reduce those long balls that will go a long way for the Astros and giving their offense a chance as opposed to having a repeat of the ALCS last year where it felt like the Astros were out of it before the game began.
The Astros rotation is in great shape overall with minimal concern. But if Verlander’s calf becomes a bigger issue, if Valdez loses his composure, if McCullers Jr. feels the effect of missing nearly a year of pitching and Urquidy can’t avoid the big inning that is the recipe for disaster to be worried about.
But even in the case of that perfect storm the Astros still have Cristian Javier, Luis Garcia and Hunter Brown. So in other words, there’s not a lot to worry about going into October.