Is there cause for concern with Ryan Pressly after tough Opening Day appearance?

2024 did not get off to the start that Ryan Pressly and the Astros had hoped for.

New York Yankees v Houston Astros
New York Yankees v Houston Astros / Tim Warner/GettyImages

The Houston Astros definitely leaned into the idea that there is no such thing as too many good relievers this offseason when they went out and signed Josh Hader. However, it did create a moment of awkwardness as Ryan Pressly had been entrenched as the Astros' closer and he found himself pushed out of the role through no fault of his own.

Everyone said the right things in the wake of the deal. Manager Joe Espada made sure to communicate the decision to everyone involved and Pressly welcomed Hader's addition even though he was surprised by the decision to make Hader the closer. The situation could have come with drama, but everyone seemed to handle things very well.

However, the decision got some renewed scrutiny on Opening Day because while Hader shoved in his debut with Houston, Pressly did not. He struggled in his first appearance of the 2024 season.

Astros fans shouldn't panic about Ryan Pressly just yet

Sports fans can have a very short-term memory. For many, all that matters is what a guy did in the last game and his track record just gets thrown out the window. So, when Pressly gave up the go ahead run in the seventh inning on Opening Day, many were quick to jump to the conclusion that he wasn't suited for a setup role and the move itself was to blame.

There is something to the idea that players, especially pitchers, are creatures of habit who can respond negatively to change. Some of the best players on planet Earth have struggled when being moved up or down in the lineup or even when they play for certain teams or in certain stadiums. Given that Pressly had been so good the last five seasons (2.85 ERA in his 257 appearances from 2019-2023), any early hiccups are going to get some attention.

However, Houston fans need to pump the brakes on the panic for now. It is just one game, after all, and Pressly had a bit of an uneven spring this year. It seems more likely that he is just still getting his feet under him this year instead of assuming that he has forgotten how to be awesome because he isn't pitching the ninth anymore. If anything, Houston may be glad that they have Hader right now because there is no guarantee that Pressly's results would have been any different at the end of the game.

That said, if we get through a month's worth of games and Pressly is still struggling to get guys out, there may very well be something to the idea that changing his role could be messing with him.

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