Cristian Javier, Framber Valdez and the Astros Pitching Factory
There were no guarantees they would return to the playoffs after their surprising loss to the Mariners last night, but the Astros still took some big swings at the fences. This has been a good season for the Astros, but they’ve not had the best record in their division, and I’ve been impressed with how they’ve fought back so far. The Astros are coming off the first back-to-back games in May and they were missing two pitchers they had been counting on playing. The lefty J.A. Happ and the lefty Carlos Correa weren’t available for the first game because they were on the disabled list, and Correa didn’t pitch again until June 19th. In their second game, Happ started on Friday and Correa did not play again until June 21st. In just 17 days, the Astros pitched to a 5.15 ERA in the first round of the playoffs. It’s a great accomplishment, and I’ve got to say, I wouldn’t want to do it without the help of these three players, but I also wouldn’t want to do it without the help of my friends over at FanGraphs.
I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, because we’re still a couple months away from the postseason. These players have only pitched one game so far (on the road against the Mariners), and we don’t know if they’ll play any more games. But based on what I saw in their second game, the Astros may be even more difficult to beat than we thought.
This season, it’s become apparent that the Houston pitching staff is the Astros Pitching Factory. I’ve talked about this before and have even used it as the title of an article in the past, but there’s something about the Astros that makes me believe that this is true.
The Astros currently have four pitchers on their way up: Wandy Rodriguez, Brad Peacock, J.A. Happ and Carlos Correa. To put this in perspective, Houston has only had four pitchers throw a pitch this year and they’ve only thrown 200 or so pitches. I know I always love it when I see stats like that, and they’re even