Fatal flaw: Every MLB contender has a weak spot

Jun 13, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) reacts as he talks to New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) on the mound during the seventh inning against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 13, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) reacts as he talks to New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) on the mound during the seventh inning against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
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Brooks Raley. Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Brooks Raley. Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

Houston Astros

The bullpen as a team’s fatal flaw is a recurring theme in a game that places so much emphasis on so unreliable a position.

But perhaps with no serious contender is the need for a quick bullpen redo as critical as it is in Houston.

The Astros may lead the AL West comfortably, but the pen situation has to be making Houston fans nervous. The closer, Ryan Pressley, has great numbers: 4-1, 1.50, 18 saves, a 0.79 WHIP.

Beyond that…look out. The four most used relievers, Brandon Bielak, Ryne Stanek, Bryan Abreu and Brooks Raley, have a combined 5.03 ERA, and that’s across a healthy 143 innings. That’s one-sixth of the team’s innings overall.

Even with Pressley starring in the lead role, the Astros pen has impacted the team to the tune of -3.2 WAA. That makes Houston’s the seventh worst pen in all of MLB, and the worst among serious contenders.

Ask most baseball experts what’s the most serious flaw a serious contender can have entering a pivotal postseason series, and most would immediately identify a shaky bullpen. No contender’s bullpen is shakier than Houston’s.

They moved to fix that fatal flaw Tuesday, trading for Seattle reliever Kendall Graveman.