Sitting there at your water cooler, you probably ask questions like this all the time.
Well, check that. A small number of you who care about the Astros deeply may be talking about them around the water cooler, usually to people who haven't followed the team since Bagwell and Biggio roamed the diamond. But, let's assume we're in a perfect sports world here.
Once again, we're bringing up a question and throwing it to you, the reader. Debate each side of an issue, just to talk about this terrible major league team we're all watching. Maybe you'll like it, maybe you don't, but I know everyone on the internet has opinions, right?
We skipped this feature last week, but let's get right back on the horse with a question on pitching. Do the Houston Astros have too many starting pitchers in their bullpen?
Nope, they do not
One of our TCB commenters joined me this time (and going forward) to be a counterpoint. His name, appropriately, is The Advocate. He took the negative side on this one:
No, Houston does not have too many starting pitchers in their bullpen. What they do lack, however, are quality starting pitchers in their bullpen. Typically, a relief pitcher in the majors is one who could not succeed as a full time starter. Whether it be lack of velocity, command, or enough plus pitches, they seem to find a niche in the bullpen. The Astros' problem, however, is not that they are stacking their bullpen with "starters," but rather they're stacking their bullpen with lesser quality starters than they currently have in their starting rotation. Let's face it, if you can't make the starting 5 in the Astros' rotation at this point, then you probably don't have a lot of business pitching out of a major league bullpen, either.
Yes, they surely do
Look, I'm fine with the idea of bringing in Paul Clemens as a reliever and getting him accustomed to the ML experience before he's thrown to the wolves in the starting rotation. I'm also okay with bringing along someone like Jose Cisnero slowly through the bullpen.
I'm just not sure I'm okay with four different long relievers all being out there at the same time. On Saturday, that led to Bo Porter being "forced" to bring in Philip Humber as one of his only options in the sixth inning. He may have been hoping to stretch Humber out and avoid damaging an already thin bullpen any more. But, it quickly blew up in his face, as Humber was terrible and lost the game for Houston.
If Houston had even a few more traditional relievers out there, they might have been able to string an inning or two together and get to the ninth with a lead intact. Instead, Houston dropped the second of three games to the Rangers.
What do you say? Is Houston's unconventional approach to the bullpen hurting this team and Bo Porter's option or is it the best way to work in talented young pitchers? Should there be some middle ground or should Houston continue adding guys to the bullpen until there are six long men and one closer?