Houston Astros: Why the pitching rotation is coming together at right time

Houston Astros pitcher Zack Greinke (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Houston Astros pitcher Zack Greinke (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

How’s the Houston Astros’ pitching rotation doing? With injuries to key players on the roster, there is more cohesiveness to the rotation. How? Let’s talk.

If you were to look closer into the Houston Astros lately, this is what you would see. A seven-game win streak highlighted by two walk-offs, stifling rotation play, and a lineup contributing one through nine on any given day.

Now, any normal Houston Astros fan can look at that and say, “HMMMM. Something doesn’t quite belong here.” And if they were thinking about the teams pitching, then they’d be correct. More specifically the bullpen pitching because, at one point in the season, our bullpens record alone was 3-6. Six losses all before game 20 is an even worse way to look at it but nonetheless, they’ve improved.

Here’s why.

It’s a day by day process

Everyone’s learning each other. There was no Spring Training, a new coaching staff was brought in, and there’s been a complete bullpen overhaul. And although very talented, they’re still wildly inexperienced with guys like Enoli Paredes, Andre Scrubb, and Blake Taylor all making their debut this year alone.

Then when you take into account that new manager Dusty Baker doesn’t know these guys at all and pitching coach Brent Strom has had little time to assess their talent from just spring training appearances over the last few years, bumps in the road were to be expected.

But they’ve all shown flashes.  Paredes is coming around with shutouts here-and-there that have lowered his ERA to a sub-three, Scrubb struck out Trevor Story with runners on second and third in the 11th to earn his first career save the other night, and Taylor has a sub-two ERA with a WHIP barely above one in 11.2 innings, so yeah you can say they’re coming around. But it’s not just on them.

Starters contribute too

People sometimes forget that the pitching staff goes hand in hand with each other from the

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starters to the bullpen or some special cases vice-versa. And it’s not a secret that Houston’s starters haven definitely eased the burden. Over the six-game win streak, the starting rotation has averaged six innings per start. AVERAGED.

Zack Greinke took on the ace role with ease the other night with eight strong, Javier has pitched six twice, Valdez pitched six and a third in his first game back, and Lance McCullers Jr. pitched seven in one of his latest starts. With the starters doing this, it’s allowed Dusty to pick and choose who he wants and for what situation and our success have shown as a result.

The stats don’t lie.

Over our win streak, the Houston Astros rotation has an MLB leading 1.86 ERA and .186 batting average against. Yes, our bats have pulled out some wins here and there to the point that they’ve been integral in our season’s success, but we’ve had good offense all year and even we’ve been in third place.

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With the pitching turnaround, we’re in the national spotlight again riding a seven-game win streak that’s helped us climb to second in our division. The pitching was key in our turnaround, but with injuries piling up to Michael Brantley, Yordan Alvarez, and Justin Verlander they must keep it up.