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MLB Houston Astros

Jarred Cosart Takes Step Back In Competiton For Starting Rotation Job With Houston Astros

Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

After his first two spring outings, Jarred Cosart looked like he had a pretty good lead on the rather large competition that the Houston Astros put together to build their rotation behind Lucas Harrell and Bud Norris.

That’s quite the achievement, considering that the team wasn’t necessarily giving a player with just 27.2 innings in Triple-A an inside track for the job, not while there were guys with more MLB experience in camp like Alex White and Dallas Keuchel.

If the 22-year old Cosart was going to end up with the team on Opening Day, he would have to force the team’s hand

You could say that he’d done just that – or as much as he could through two starts in Spring Training, anyway. The righty threw four innings of quality ball, giving up just a hit and a walk without allowing a run. Cosart wasn’t necessarily dominating batters, but he had his stuff working, and it was yielding results.

Then, on Monday afternoon, it stopped.

Facing the Detoit Tigers regulars, Cosart had neither stuff nor command, and the combination led the Astros prospect to be pulled before he got a chance to complete his three scheduled innings. He was wild right from the get-go, giving up a whopping three walks to go with a wild pitch and a pair of singles to put Houston down 2-0.

Cosart recovered in the second by getting essentially getting four straight outs (one running advanced on an error), and it looked as though he might have been able to salvage his outing in the third.

Not so much. A pair of singles and a walk to Alex Avila loaded the bases with no outs, putting an end to Cosart’s day, and putting a halt on the momentum that he’d gained thus far. Worse, there’s not really a detailed look at any of the at-bats that would pinpoint exactly what went wrong today – he just didn’t have it.

Though I’m sure labouring through his outing wasn’t what the right-hander wanted, perhaps he can take some solace in that well, it’s not as though the rest of the competition has been lighting it up either. White, who also pitched on Monday, was arguably even worse, giving up two earned runs (three total) on four hits and a pair of walks. John Ely, another starter in the mix, have given up five runs over 3.2 innings, and looked terrible on Sunday.

In fact, even after his poor start, the competition right now might be between Cosart and Keuchel, who has given up three runs over 3.0 innings, walking none while striking out three.

Cosart would have been ahead of him, too, if it weren’t for his lost strike zone on Monday. He’ll have to find it quickly, or the former top-50 prospect (Baseball America) will find himself joining the minors-bound club along with White and Ely.