HOUSTON,TX-MAY 09 : Wilton Lopez #59 of the Houston Astros gestures as he leaves the game in the seventh inning against the Miami Marlins on May 9, 2012 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
It's Friday again Astros fans, and that means that it's time to check in on how the Astros pitchers performed over the past week. Starting pitching was hit-and-miss this past week. Bud Norris and Aneury Rodriguez both threw quality starts, and Wandy also had an okay start as well by pitching into the ninth but allowing four runs. J.A. Happ and Harrell kind of struggled though and both were unable to make it past the sixth inning this week. The Astros bullpen put together a great week, and only Enerio Del Rosario, David Carpenter, and Fernando Abad allowed runs to score in 21.1 innings of work. First though let's take a look at what starter's did this past week.
Five different starters pitched over the last seven days for the Astros with Lucas Harrell taking the mound twice. Overall the rotation pitched 35.2 innings and posted a 4.04 ERA, but recorded a FIP of 5.70. The staff averaged a 5.55 K/9 rate, and a BB/9 rate of 4.29.
Notable performers include Bud Norris who always seems to manage a good game against the Cardinals. Aneury Rodriguez made a great impression with his spot start against the red hot Marlins. He only gave up two hits in the outing, but unfortunately they were both hits that went for runs. He was also very efficient and only needed 78 pitches to get through his six innings of work. The other decent start of the week to highlight was Wandy Rodriguez. Even though he gave up the most runs of his season so far, he still went 8+ innings and it took him only 97 pitches to do so. The only problem with Wandy's outing this time around was the long ball. Wandy has averaged about one homerun per nine innings throughout his career and had yet to give up a homerun in his first six starts of the 2012 season. He worked on catching back up to his career totals against the fish by giving up three in one start.
Groundball specialist Lucas Harrell had two passable outings that were enough to keep the Astros in the game which I guess is what you would want from a back of the rotation starter. Still, anytime you are giving up five walks and thirteen hits in 10.2 innings it will be tough to keep runs off the board. Happ has yet to truly dominate this season, and unfortunately the bad version of Happ from last season showed up in his last start. This would be the one that couldn't find the strikezone and gave up four walks in five innings pitched. He also allowed two homeruns and five runs on the evening.
Relief pitching provided plenty of relief this past week with Wilton Lopez and Brett Myers leading the way with three shutdowns apiece. Fernando Rodriguez, Wesley Wright, and Brandon Lyon also had one shutdown on the week, while David Carpenter was the only pitcher to have a meltdown this past week. Their nine shutdowns and one meltdown this past week were good for third best in the National League behind only the Braves and the Mets.
Wilton pitched a total of four innings, and only allowed one hit and one hit batter to go along with five strikeouts. Brett Myers threw three scoreless innings and picked up two saves, struck out two, and allowed three hits and no walks this past week. Rhiner Cruz had a successful return from the disabled list and pitched a scoreless frame, and Fernando Rodriguez also had two scoreless innings. Wesley Wright was used more as a Loogy this past week which resulted in three appearances totaling 1.1 scoreless innings. I saved the best, or at least the most surprising for last. Brandon Lyon allowed one hit in his three scoreless innings of work while also recording five strikeouts.
Fernando Abad and Enerio Del Rosario both had okay weeks by both working two innings and only allowing one earned run. There lines were identical on the week with both allowing two hits, one run, one walk, and one strikeout. Del Rosario has already been sent back to Oklahoma City, and Abad seems like the likely choice to be demoted when another starter is needed for Weiland's spot in the rotation. David Carpenter had the worst week for the bullpen guys, and still only allowed two earned runs in three innings pitched. Unfortunately those two runs were enough to lose a tie ballgame in the 12th inning against the Marlins Wednesday night.
The Astros staff as a whole is second to last in FIP (4.14), and are currently only ahead of the Colorado Rockies. Their starting pitching so far has been the main culprit. They currently rank second to last in starter FIP as well, again only finishing above the Rockies. The Astros bullpen is currently ranked 12th in the NL with a 3.85 FIP.