Astros fans already turning on Josh Hader in what's becoming an ugly scene

To say the Astros bullpen is struggling would be an understatement.
Houston Astros Josh Hader (71) sits in the dugout
Houston Astros Josh Hader (71) sits in the dugout / Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

What will $95 million get you nowadays? Not much if you asked baseball fans in and around Houston. The Astros went out this past offseason and locked up one of the best closers in the game only to see him fail on numerous occasions at the outset of the 2024 season. Josh Hader has quickly become public enemy No. 1 among Astros fans.

Hader was at the center of the Astros most recent collapse. In a tie ball game this past Sunday at home, Hader entered during the ninth inning and gave up what would be the game-winning home run to Seattle Mariners' catcher Cal Raleigh. That's not what you expect from an All-Star closer.

Hader's postgame comments didn't necessarily sit well with the Houston faithful either. Rather than taking accountability for his failures, Hader decided to offer the old cliché of, "It's baseball, man." Brilliant observation, Josh. Perhaps it's time to start living up to massive contract rather than making excuses for your below-average contributions to this year's team.

Astros fans already turning on Josh Hader in what's becoming an ugly scene

Hader is not the only Astros reliever who's been subpar this season. Manager Joe Espada can't really rely on any of his top arms to get three outs this season. Hader, Ryan Pressly, and Bryan Abreu have a combined ERA of 5.32. That's not what you expect from the back end of your bullpen.

But it's Hader's nonchalant attitude that's rubbing Astros fans the wrong way. To babble on and say things like, "Nothing's ever easy in this game," doesn't exactly give the Houston fanbase hope that things will turn around anytime soon.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result, right? If so, perhaps Espada needs to shake things up. Hader is 1-3 this season with a 6.14 ERA. Yes, the strikeouts are impressive, but the walks are concerning. So is the fact that Hader is getting tattooed routinely by opposing batters.

Last season, according to Baseball Savant, Hader was among the 87th percentile in average exit velocity (87 MPH). This season, batters are hitting Hader hard. He ranks among the 13th percentile in average exit velo (90.7 MPH) and his hard-hit rate has increased from 28.3% to 40.6%.

This is getting ugly, and something has to change quickly. The Astros bats are doing their job, but the bullpen has been folding quicker than an old lawn chair. The Houston fanbase won't stand for these blunders for much longer.

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