Not the most sterling week in Houston's pitching season. That's why we're left with a pair of relievers making the honorable mention list. That's why it took so long to publish today. Had to wait for Porter to signal us in from the bullpen, but then he sent us to left field and then brought us in again.
I can't do it. I just can't do it. I can't put a reliever as the winner of this award. Even if Josh Fields was nigh-unhittable for the last week.
In 3 2/3 innings, Fields allowed two hits. Of the 13 batters he faces, Fields struck out eight of them. He also had the only Shutdown of the week by a Houston reliever and the most Win Probability Added of any pitcher on the staff.
He's still a reliever and only appeared in three games. Seven different pitchers had more innings than him. That's why he didn't get the top spot. But, he certainly gets the Astros Reliever of the Week award, with some stiff competition from...
That crafty front office, plucking someone like Veras off the scrap heap and turning him back into a decent pitcher. In four innings, Veras gave up one run while allowing three hits and no walks. He also struck out four and had the fourth-highest WPA on the team.
In six innings now with the Astros, Veras has five strikeouts and two walks. He's given up four runs (three earned) and five hits. That's better than they could have expected out of any of their Triple-A relievers right now. Will Veras hold up long-term? Probably not. But, Houston takes less of a short-term hit with Veras. Considering the state of the bullpen post-injuries, that's not a bad plan.
You can see why the hitting was good over the last week and Houston still lost 3 out of seven games. The pitching was just bad. Not awful peripherally, mind you, but pretty bad at run prevention. Keuchel, Oberholtzer, Downs, Cosart, Sipp, Zeid and Bass all got blown up. McHugh was okay but had to leave after 4 innings with whatever problem he had (it wasn't a blister, according to Porter).
That leaves Feldman as the only starter who pitched enough innings to be valuable and post decent numbers. In his only start, Feldman gave up two runs in 6 innings while allowing six hits and no walks with five strikeouts. He wasn't flashy, but he was Houston's most effective starter over the past week.
If I had to guess, I bet this is exactly why Houston signed him. When everything else falls apart, Feldman at least provides a veteran presence to stop the bleeding.
Oh, and #VoteKeuchel.