Results tagged ‘ pitching rotation ’

Astros set pitching rotation

Just moments after the Astros wrapped up Grapefruit League play with a win over the Mets, manager Bo Porter announced right-hander Lucas Harrell and left-hander Dallas Keuchel would handle the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation.

Scott Feldman will start Opening Day on Tuesday against the Yankees, followed by Jarred Cosart and Brett Oberholtzer. Harrell will start April 4 against the Angels and Keuchel on April 5.

Harrell and Keuchel were battling with Jerome Williams and Brad Peacock, but they were informed they will begin the season in the bullpen. Porter thought both Harrell and Keuchel were more effective as starters than relievers last year.

“When you look at the complete body of work, Jerome has done both and when you look at Lucas and Keuchel, we had Lucas in the bullpen last year and we felt he was much better suited as a starting pitcher,” Porter said. “A guy who’s a sinkerballer, he needs to wear down a little bit.

“You look at Dallas, we just felt the time he spent in the rotation was much better than the time he spent in the bullpen. I felt Peacock has that power stuff that could play as a long reliever or in a situation where the starter gives us extended innings, he’s another option in short relief as well.”

Harrell posted a 5.98 ERA in 22 starts last year and had a 5.49 ERA in 39 1/3 innings in relief. Keuchel had a 4.90 ERA in 22 starts and a 6.75 ERA in 21 1/3 innings. Williams went 8-10 with a 5.06 ERA in 25 starts for the Angels last year and posted a 2.35 ERA in 30 2/3 innings in relief.

“Jerome was here to do whatever it is that we need to do in order to win baseball game,” Porter said. “Like I said to him, look at the number of starting pitchers we went through last year. This is where we’re at today and that could change a week from now, I don’t know.”

The Astros used 10 different starters last year.

Astros have plenty of options in the rotation

In the past few days, the Astros have added to their pitching depth by signing Philip Humber and trading for Alex White, both of whom are expected to compete for a rotation spot. What we know for sure is the top three spots in the rotation are set with Bud Norris, Lucas Harrell and Jordan Lyles, barring a trade.

The Astros are getting interest in Norris, who’s eligible for arbitration for the first time. They’ve created enough depth where they could trade Norris and have options in the rotation.

Here’s a look at the candidates for the final two spots in the rotation:

RHP Alex White: White appeared in 23 games (20 starts) for the Rockies last season and was 2-9 with a 5.51 ERA. He split the season between Colorado and Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he went 3-4 with a 3.71 ERA. White is 24, and GM Jeff Luhnow says he has top-of-the-rotation stuff. He’s going to be given every opportunity to win the spot.

RHP Philip Humber: Humber, 29, went 5-5 with a 6.44 ERA in 26 games (16 starts) for the White Sox. In 16 overall appearances as a starter, Humber finished 5-5 with a 6.14 ERA over 88 innings and has gone winless over his last 15 starts at U.S. Cellular Field dating back to 2011. He had an 8.36 ERA over 14 innings covering 10 relief appearances. Perhaps a return to his home state and a fresh start will get him on track.

LHP Dallas Keuchel: The lefty had an up-and-down season in his rookie debut last season, which included a complete game win in his second start. He wound up going 3-8 with a 5.27 ERA in 16 starts and showed enough to get another look in the spring. The competition has gotten tougher, so Keuchel will have to pitch well to win a spot.

RHP Jarred Cosart: Luhnow floated the idea Tuesday of perhaps moving Cosart to closer. He’s working on refining a third pitch, which is essential for a starting pitcher, but his powerful fastball could make him successful in the latter innings. I still think Cosart will be given a shot to start, but he’s said he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make the club.

LHP Brett Oberholtzer: Oberholtzer, 23, split his 2012 season between Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City, combining to post a 10-10 record with a 4.37 ERA in 28 starts. He began his 2012 season with Corpus Christi and earned Texas League All-Star honors before his promotion to Oklahoma City, where he went 3-5 with a 3.31 ERA in 10 starts. He was added to the 40-man roster last month, but he’s a long shot to make the club.

RHP Jose Cisnero: Cisnero, 23, was among the organization’s leaders in victories in 2012, posting a 13-7 record in 28 combined starts at Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City with a 3.70 ERA. Cisnero, who was twice named Texas League Player of the Week, had one of the top strikeouts-per-innings ratios among starting pitchers with 148 strikeouts in 148 1/3 innings of work. Expect him to open of the season as one of the top starters in Oklahoma City.

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