Houston Astros: The scramble and strategy to replace Roberto Osuna

Houston Astros pitcher Roberto Osuna (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Houston Astros pitcher Roberto Osuna (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Houston Astros pitcher Roberto Osuna sustained an injury late in last night’s contest against the Angels. What should the strategy be with him out?

The Houston Astros are in crisis mode as the experienced arms have been dropping like flies and it’s at an alarming rate, just like how the coronavirus is ravaging this country.  Just like when we all were introduced to COVID-19 earlier this year, nobody expected that the impact would be this vast, affecting our daily lives.

The Houston Astros are going to have to rethink how not only their pitching rotation is arranged but who to summon within the bullpen when typically the answer to that question is so clear.

At this moment, that’s certainly not the case as there are at least 10 arms that are on the roster now that have little experience in pitching in the majors.  But because of this pandemic and the ability for the rosters to expand because of that, you’re going to see guys out there getting opportunities that you wouldn’t see in a season that has normal intricacies.

The Houston Astros have a challenge in front of them and it won’t be easy.  Last night, this team was on its way to cruise to a win with Roberto Osuna closing things out, he had already gotten one out and was on his way to getting his second when he motioned to the trainers for assistance after pitching to Luis Rengifo, who eventually got a single off of him.

He subsequently was pulled from the game and apparently has been flown to Houston for further evaluation.  There’s no word on the seriousness of the injury but it’s never a good sign when you’re calling for the trainers in the middle of an outing.

Cy Sneed replaced Osuna but it was Jason Castro that got a double off him — who had a wild pitch in an earlier frame — scoring Rengifo and tying the game 4-4.

The bottom fell out and all went downhill from there with the game being decided on a Michael Hermosillo sacrifice fly off rookie Nivaldo Rodriguez, scoring Matt Thaiss for a 5-4 win for the Los Angeles Angels.

As much as a punch of the gut that was to the Houston Astros’ psyche, there’s real work that needs to be done to resolve the issue at hand.

There’s a lot of inexperience among the available arms and Brad Peacock doesn’t look like he’s even close to being ready yet to contribute to the team.

So we’re definitely going to see more of Bryan Abreu, Brandon Bailey, Enoli Paredes and Nivaldo Rodriguez.  Andre Scrubb, who had a decent outing Friday night, will also be seen more.

Obviously, the best plan of action is to call up Forrest Whitley to complement but he’s experiencing pain while training in Corpus Christi and won’t be available.

So who’s next?  It’s time to call up Cionel Perez.  He was on the 10-day injured list before the start

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of the season but hopefully what he was dealing with is behind him.

We need him as there is only one left-handed arm in the bullpen and that’s Blake Taylor, who has done well as of late.

His debut was back last season was less than impressive but they’re running out of arms and it wouldn’t hurt to bring him into the fold.

He’d be a nice complement to the staff but the biggest hurdle is if he’s ready to go because if he’s not, they’re just going to have to roll with what they have.

The Houston Astros did sign 17-year vet Fernando Rodney to a minor-league deal but I’d imagine it’s going to be a while longer before he’s ready to go because with an arm with that much experience, the runaway to take off needs to be a lot longer to make sure things go smoothly.

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All in all, this is a difficult situation for Dusty Baker and it will be intriguing to see how he and James Click try to resolve this.

Let’s hope for the best — go Houston Astros!