Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
With Dallas Keuchel on the sideline, an already weak starting rotation has become an even bigger issue for the Astros.
- AL West: 10.5 games back
- Wild Card: 3.5 games back
Remaining Schedule (18 games)
- vs. TEX (2)
- @ SEA (3)
- @ OAK (3)
- vs. LAA (4)
- vs. SEA (3)
- @ LAA (3)
Biggest Potential Roadblock: A shaky starting rotation
The starting rotation has been hit-and-miss for the Houston Astros all season.
They’ve used 10 different starting pitchers on the year, with that group going a combined 51-54 with a 4.43 ERA and 1.405 WHIP.
Those are middle of the road numbers relative to the rest of the league and only better than three other contending teams (Royals, Yankees, Orioles) in the ERA department.
However, it’s the rotation’s recent performance that paints a truly grim picture.
Doug Fister, Mike Fiers, Collin McHugh, Joe Musgrove, David Paulino and Brad Peacock have combined to go 2-6 with an 8.38 ERA and 1.971 WHIP in 11 starts so far this month, with Musgrove turning in the lone quality start.
Notably absent from that list is reigning AL Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel and right-hander Lance McCullers, who are currently sidelined with shoulder inflammation and a sprained elbow, respectively.
“It’s going to depend on where we’re at as a team and where they’re at,” manager A.J. Hinch told reporters on Monday. “Our idea is to continue positive progress with these guys and not set a timeline or a necessary deadline for them to have to meet. Otherwise we’ll threaten further injury. … One more setback for any of these guys and it’s over.”
Keuchel has not been nearly as sharp this season as he was a year ago, but, with a 4.55 ERA over 168 innings of work and a 62 percent quality start rate, he’s still been a key piece of the rotation.
McCullers has only made 14 starts while battling arm issues, but he’s pitched to a 3.22 ERA over 81 innings when he has managed to take the mound.