To put it lightly, it is very possible that the Houston Astros have the worst bullpen of all time.
You can believe what you want, but by the makings of it, this Astros team was built to get the no. 1 pick three years in a row and the bullpen is most definitely doing that job. It doesn’t matter if the Astros have a one-run or 10-run lead, the team and its’ manager Bo Porter don’t feel comfortable — partly because the bullpen is going to fail more times than not.
At the beginning of the season, the Astros could rely on Jose Veras to lock down the ninth inning if they had a lead. He has been traded since, and no one seems to know how to pitch without Veras on the team.
The Astros have done everything in their power to switch up the bullpen. They have called up the likes of Chia-Jen Lo, Josh Zeid, Kevin Chapman and Jorge DeLeon. They’ve sent down Hector Ambriz, Jose Cisnero and designated Travis Blackley for assignment. However, it doesn’t seem to matter who pitches in the Astros bullpen — they are more than likely going to fail for whatever reason.
At this point, the Astros could see Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees walk out of the bullpen, and the team and their fans still wouldn’t be comfortable.
Here’s why. When the Astros are leading going into the eighth inning, they have a .707 winning percentage. Sure, that may seem decent, but here’s the bad news: the other 29 teams have .895 winning percentage. See the difference?
The Astros’ bullpen is 10-29 with a 5.40 ERA. The batting average against the bullpen is .280. The bullpen has also given up a staggering amount of home runs to the tune of 69 while allowing 724 total bases. Both are leading the league easily. Not to mention, they lead the league in opposing OBP at .359. The Astros are second in the AL in blown saves, but fourth overall.
The reason they aren’t in first is simple: they haven’t had as many opportunities to save games.
As of now, the Astros are relying on Josh Fields (7.59 ERA), Wesley Wright (3.92 ERA), Lucas Harrell (5.34 ERA), as well has many untested rookies who have just been called up. Porter doesn’t have much to work with here, and it shows when the game is on the line. He trusts no one, and quite frankly, I wouldn’t either.
This team is awful, but if they even had a decent bullpen, they would be much better off. If the Astros aren’t careful, this bullpen could go down as one of the worst in the history of the game, if not the worst.