Pitching has been a hotly debated topic for the Astros in 2023. Their starting rotation has been in disarray since the calendar turned to August. Ryan Pressly has been the subject of heated criticism, much of it undeserved, after a few bad outings. Hector Neris has been rightly praised all season for his dominance.
And all the while Bryan Abreu has been quietly putting together an absolutely dominant stretch of pitching.
On July 15th, Abreu allowed one run in 0.1 innings of work against the Angels. His ERA sat at 2.84 while his WHIP was 1.15. He was still having a great season by any stretch of the imagination, but he was about to go on an absolute heater.
He's not allowed a run since. In his 25 appearances since, Abreu has held the opposition scoreless, allowing only nine hits in that stretch.
Abreu has lowered his ERA on the year from 2.84 to 1.82, and he holds a 1.01 WHIP. In 26 games in the second half, Abreu has a 0.36 ERA.
Simply said, he has been totally untouchable.
After an up-and-down start to his big league career, Abreu emerged as a lights out weapon last year. His fastball and slider are both unhittable, and he occasionally mixes in a curveball with a top-10 spin rate in the game to keep the opposition guessing.
He can reach back for 100 mph, or simply humiliate batters with his off-speed.
After emerging as a dominant reliever and the 8th inning arm for the 2022 Astros and their dominant bullpen, Abreu has somehow been even better in 2023.
When Abreu gets the ball, it's a safe assumption that either the Astros lead is going nowhere or their deficit will not grow any larger. As volatile as relievers can be, he may very well be pitching himself into a contract extension for the future.
While many of the Astros have faltered down the stretch, Abreu has elevated his game to an entirely different level. With five games to go and a playoff berth still in the balance, expect Bryan Abreu to continue to answer the bell when needed the most.