Last night was one of the worse games of the season. The Astros have been blown out worse, but the Astros were experimenting with the opener and a primary pitcher. The experiment failed.
To his credit, Josh James did a great job in his one inning pitched. Before the game, AJ Hinch squashed any suggestions that James would go more than an inning. When asked the next day on SportsTalk 790 if he had any plans on whether or not to send James or Collin McHugh to stretch them out, A. J. Hinch said that there is not enough time to stretch them out.
What if the Astros then trade for two starters, then they ask that player to go back to the bullpen? In other words, the Astros will adjust to the needs of the moment. As you can see from last night’s game, they were trying to get Framber Valdez to throw as long as he could. As the primary pitcher last night, Valdez gave up seven runs, four earned, in four innings pitched. But they needed someone to eat innings.
The Astros hoped that Valdez would figure things out, but his 3-6 record and 5.58 ERA would say that he has not. He had two great starts in June, but those were against the Orioles and Blue Jays. As my Talking Stros cohost noted on the show Monday night, when Valdez is right, his stuff is great. But right now, his control is not good enough to pitch for the Astros. Just throw strikes!
After the game, Valdez was optioned down to AAA. Rogelio Armenteros was recalled and will be the primary pitcher tonight. Hector Rondon will get the start as the opener and like James, will probably only throw one inning. Armenteros last pitched Friday night and threw 95 pitches so that he will be working on three days rest. If he could give the Astros three quality innings tonight, that would be great (picture the boss from Office Space saying that)!
Something I talked about on Locked On Astros and Talking Stros, what if the Astros just looked for a quick, cheap fix to eat up some innings. Something like what the Red Sox did with Andrew Cashner and the A’s did with Homer Bailey. While the Astros need a top name pitcher for the playoffs, they need someone to eat up some innings. Anyone. Really, anyone!
The Royals are all about trading away talent. Maybe they would trade Danny Duffy? Once a big name, he is just a guy with a big salary. Maybe the Blue Jays would be ready to give up on Aaron Sanchez and his 3-13 record this season. Yes, the 6.22 ERA gives me pause, but maybe Brent Strom can do something. I would typically say Jeff Samardzija, but he’s actually having a good-ish season. I could continue to list names, but I don’t think we will see a deal until closer to the deadline.
With 15 days left until the trade deadline, finding a trade partner is hard. Especially dealing with NL teams where most of the league is within 4-6 games of the Wild Card. Even the AL West is a little more uncomfortable than Astros fans would want. Unless Armenteros shows us something tonight, there are not that many options ready to help the Astros in 2019.
Jeff Luhnow will not make a deal unless the player is a significant upgrade over what they have or worth the talent they have to trade. Luhnow can be patient to reel in his big fish, but until then, can we at least get a baby fish to fill a spot?
Make sure you subscribe to Locked On Astros for daily Astros talk. This morning I had the Framber Valdez blues.