While the Astros picked up two much-needed wins against the Tigers this week, those victories came at a price. As noted below by Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, the club will be without the services of two members of its active roster for at least the next 10 days.
Hinch said RHP Aaron Sanchez is headed to IL. He had a sore pectoral muscle, and velo was down. Correa is indeed going on IL. Team will make two moves tomorrow.— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) August 21, 2019
Carlos Correa, who was recently activated from the IL in late July, is out of commission again with a stiff lower back. This latest injury is even more alarming as Correa also spent considerable time on the IL last season with a previous back ailment. It is an unfortunate turn of events for the Astros’ star shortstop, who was hitting .278/.358/.556 with a 140 wRC+ this season. Out of all shortstops with at least 300 plate appearances, Correa’s 140 wRC+ would only trail Fernando Tatis Jr. (148 wRC+) and Xander Bogaerts (141 wRC+).
Aaron Sanchez, Tuesday night’s starter for Houston, is also joining Correa on the IL. For the former Blue Jay, it is a sore pectoral muscle that is causing him grief. During his start against the Tigers, Sanchez’s velocity took a noticeable dive right from the start. Here is the right-hander’s average four-seam velocity during his 2 1⁄3 innings of work last night.
- 1st inning: 91.9 MPH
- 2nd inning: 91.6 MPH
- 3rd inning: 89.3 MPH
For context, Sanchez’s average four-seam velocity prior to yesterday’s start was 93.5 MPH. Based on his comments in McTaggart’s article here, it sounds like the 27-year old pitcher had been dealing with this injury for some time. The injury could also shed light behind Sanchez’s struggles since his no-hit debut with the Astros. In the three starts since that notable introduction to his new club, Sanchez has posted a 7.11 ERA/8.42 FIP in 12 2⁄3 innings. It is clear that something was bothering him.
To replace Correa and Sanchez, it looks like the Astros are calling up right-hander Cy Sneed and infielder/outfielder Myles Straw.
Sneed and Straw expected to join the Astros tonight after Correa and Sanchez went on IL last night.— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) August 21, 2019
Sneed, who was recently sent back to Round Rock, has thrown 12 2⁄3 innings for the Astros this season with a 4.26 ERA/3.92 FIP. He will take Sanchez’s spot on the pitching staff, although it isn’t determined how the Astros will handle his turn in the starting rotation.
Straw will likely find himself shuffling across various positions like he has all season long. Although his bat (91 wRC+ in 98 PA) is not as potent as Correa’s, the 24-year old helps bolster Houston’s bench as Aledmys Diaz is also on the IL. With infielder Jack Mayfield currently on the roster, we may see more of Straw in the outfield.
The Astros depth will be tested again for the foreseeable future. Losing Correa, in particular, is a rather cruel blow to a lineup that has hardly spent any time together this season as a healthy unit. Time to rest those Death Star gifs for now, everyone.