In real life as opposed to baseball faux life, a tropical storm named Cindy took aim at the low lying, flood prone big city of Houston and basically whiffed. Some winds, a bit of heavy rain, but no big Tropical Allison flood event. Houston has ridden out the storm.
Back over in the parallel world of baseball, the Astros have been facing their own threats. After starting the season with their third best starter Collin McHugh on the DL, the Astros rolled off to the best start in franchise history. And then the storm threats rose. Four of their five starting pitchers, Charlie Morton, Joe Musgrove, Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers all ended up on the DL.
The Astros wobbled like a punch drunk boxer (or MMA champ) after that happened, but as LMJ returns to the rotation and Morton starts a rehab and the Astros finish a four-game sweep of the falling A’s, the Astros are doing a good job of riding out their storm.
#1. The Mike Fiers renaissance tops the list. Fiers was headed to the bullpen with a possible DFA in his future when the governor gave him a last minute reprieve. The Astros have won 5 of the last 6 games he has pitched in and the appearance before that he lost a 3-0 game where he gave up 1 run in 6 innings. He has moved from a long reliever to a MOR pitcher and has been critical to the team holding on to their great start.
#2. Brad Peacock‘s performance has also been critical to warding off the storm. The Astros have won 4 of his 6 starts since moving from the bullpen. Yes, he has had some games where he did not go that deep, but he had not thrown more than 2 innings in an appearance before being shoved into the rotation. He has had to stretch out in an on the job situation and has done well.
#3. David Paulino entered the season in the minors with one MLB spot start under his belt. Paulino has had one sub-par start in his five sub starts this season and won his last two starts as he has begun to hit his stride. The Astros now have a feel for the young man and the young man has a feel for what the majors are about.
#4. Top prospect 21-year-old Francis Martes has also helped with the “adults” on the DL. After looking pudgy and getting roughed up in a forced relief appearance in his major league debut, he looked like a bulldog in winning his first two starts. Again, a big boost for a team looking for some help.
So, some questions for our good readers (bad ones too).
- How do you rate the guys who have helped stem the storm?
- How close to getting past the storm is the team?
- What do you do with the 4 guys above as the other folks return? What order do they get replaced and who gets sent down and who gets sent to the pen?