The Houston Astros may be providing a preview of their playoff rotation, as they will use a four man rotation for the rest of the season.
The Houston Astros rotation has taken some hits lately. Aaron Sanchez, the fifth starter, is lost for the rest of the season. Framber Valdez has been a disaster as a starter, but has pitched well in relief. However, with the quartet of Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Zack Greinke, and Wade Miley, the Astros have plenty of pitching.
Given the status of the fifth starter role, the Astros have decided to make a change. They will go with a four man rotation for the rest of the season.
With 18 games left in the season, it is a move that makes sense. Each starter will have four more turns, with two bullpen games to make up the difference. As Brian McTaggart noted, the first of those bullpen games will come on Wednesday against the A’s.
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Right now, Houston is in the midst of a span of 11 consecutive games before having an off day. However, after that stretch, the Astros will have three days off before they close out the year with a six game road trip. That stretch will also let the Astros set up their rotation as desired, going into the postseason as desired.
This also gives the Astros starters a chance to acclimate to that type of schedule. All of their remaining starters have pitched in the postseason before, but there is still a bit of an adjustment. With 18 games left, the Astros will have that time to adjust.
Chances are, this workload will not make a difference. Verlander is already at 200 innings pitched, a number that both Cole and Greinke are likely to match by the end of the year. Miley will likely surpass the 180 inning mark. But none of that will matter once the calendar flips to October.
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The Houston Astros are going to a four man rotation for the rest of the year. In doing so, they will get a look at their playoff rotation.