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Astros Achilles Heel

The 8/30 Astros game vs. Seattle exposed the Achilles heel of the Astros in the sixth inning.

The Astros were left with mediocre to bad choices to navigate that inning. Before we go step-by-step through this let's step back to the real issue here.

The real issue here is that Click got redundant relief pitchers at the trade deadline. He focused on pitchers that could get RHH out (he said this) and ignored the platoon gaps he had. He could have traded for Tepera of Chafin instead of Maton or Yimi but he didn't. Because Click chose not to get a quality LHRP at the trade deadline, Dusty had a problem once he allowed Garcia to start the 6th inning.

As shown in the bullpen article ( most of the Astros relievers have massive platoon splits and they are truly effective vs. LHH or RHH.

This data is now a few days old but you get the idea

In the postseason, I believe Dusty would have gone to Javier or Urquidy (when back) to start the 6th inning. So what happened on 8/30?

As it happened, Dusty allowed Garcia to start the 6th inning. This was a reasonable choice given his pitch count. After a lead of walk and a single there were runners on 1st and 2nd with no one out. Dusty realized he was done but who does he bring in now? The decision here exposes the problem the Astros have.

Here are the next three batters:

  • Toro (switch contact as RHH, power as LHH- in the situation preference is to induce soft contact)

  • Marmolejos (LHH could be PH by RHH Moore)

  • Torrens (RHH) - 0.359 wOBA/ 133 wRC+ vs. LHP, 0.279 wOBA/ 79 wRC+ in August

It should be noted, before last night Moore was 4-39 w/ zero HR in August. Having him PH might be a good thing.

Use a LHP

Dusty brings in LHP Raley hoping for a double play and not having to face Torrens. Argue it should have been Taylor, but Taylor (0.378 wOBA) is actually worse vs. RHH than Raley (0.359 after the HR last night.)

Use a RHP

You say bring in a RHP. Here are the choices

Stanek (0.347 wOBA vs LHH) and he would face

  • Toro batting left

  • Matmolejos (LHH)

  • Bauers (LHH PH)

Maton (0.320 vs. LHH, 0.341 vs. RHH) has not been great with the Astros (5.84 ERA, 3.97 FIP before last night) so he would be a high risk move as well.

Javier - he takes longer to warm up and Dusty doesn’t want him to come in with RISP. he failed in last relief appearance with runners on.

Yimi (0.316 vs. LHH) - is probably the best bad choice,

We just ran through the entire non-closer high leverage bullpen and there is not a single good choice. THAT is the Astros Achilles heel right now- getting through the sixth and seventh innings when the other team can put them into massive platoon disadvantages.

So harp on Dusty for not choosing Yimi and his 0.316 wOBA vs. Raley, but I will say this, forcing the Mariners to bring in Moore to PH and then play LF weakened their defense which was critical in the game.

Again, in the postseason I don't think the Astros send Garcia out for the sixth inning. I think

Urquidy (0.234 wOBA vs. LHH, 0.301 wOBA vs. RHH) or

Javier (0.302 wOBA vs. LHH, 0.256 wOBA vs. RHH)

Comes in for the sixth and possibly the seventh innings. I expect the Astros may have one or the other pitch most sixth innings and seventh innings in the postseason. Look for it. Then the Astros close with Graveman and Pressly.

This is the game within the game.

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