Houston Astros Roster Rumors: Projecting ‘Stros Posteason Rotation … If They Make It [VIDEO]

Houston Astros Roster Rumors: Projecting ‘Stros Posteason Rotation … If They Make It [VIDEO]

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Dallas Keuchel

Astros LHP Dallas Keuchel. (Photo : Getty Images)

Every year around this time, the dreaded September swoon usually wraps its hands on at least one team. This year, it’s the Astros being victimized.

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On Sept. 1, Houston had a three-game lead over the Rangers atop the AL West. The team has completely folded in September, playing to a 7-14 record — including a four-game sweep at the hands of Texas — and now trails the division-leaders by 3 1/2 games entering Friday.

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That’s okay at least they have the wild card to fall back on right? Not that easy. The Astros own a skimpy 1.5-game lead over the Angels and Twins and host the Rangers for three games over the weekend. The winner of the wild card is likely to play the Yankees in the Bronx.

If the Astros make it to the Wild Card Game, the obvious choice is to start Dallas Keuchel at Yankee Stadium. The southpaw is tied for second in the MLB in wins (18) entering Friday and ranks fifth in ERA (2.58). He’s also held lefties to a .185 average, which will come in handy against the likes of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Greg Bird and Mark Teixeira, if healthy.

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Keuchel is 2-0 against the Yankees this season and hasn’t given up a run against them in 16 innings, which includes a complete-game shutout on June 25 in Houston. If the ace can power Houston through that game, they’d head to Kansas City to face the Royals if the season ended today.

Lance McCullers, Mike Fiers, Scott Kazmir and Collin McHugh are the remaining pitchers competing for the final three spots.

McCullers (5-7, 3.22 ERA) has a 1.86 ERA at home, so he could be saved for Game 3. The righty is also 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA against the Royals this season and seems like a lock to make the rotation.

Fiers (9-8, 3.49 with Houston) was acquired from Milwaukee and threw a no-hitter in August. One downside to the right-hander if the matchup holds true, he allowed six runs on eight hits in five innings in his only outing against the Royals this season, when he was with Milwaukee.

Kazmir (2-5, 3.31 w/ Astros; 7-10, 2.73 overall) has had some struggles, but Houston didn’t acquire him from Oakland to have him sit out. His 4.22 ERA over the last two weeks and 4.71 mark for September are troubling, but he’s been solid against Kansas City (1-1, 2.11 ERA).

Kazmir, the only pitcher in the rotation with playoff experience, is 1-2 in eight games (seven starts) in the playoffs with a 5.20 ERA.

McHugh (17-7, 3.93) has won a lot of games this season, but he also might be the odd man out. His 3.08 ERA in the second half is better than the first (4.50), and he could be used to fix a beleaguered bullpen that has a 6.70 ERA in its last 16 games and is struggling at the absolute worst possible time. He could also take Fiers’ spot.

Astros Rotation Possibilities:


Season Numbers

#s against probable opponent

Dallas Keuchel LHP

18-8, 2.51 ERA

2-0, 0.00 (NYY)

Lance McCullers RHP

5-7, 3.22

1-0, 1.29 (KCR)

Scott Kazmir LHP

2-5, 3.31 (HOU); 7-10, 2.73

1-1, 2.11 (KCR)

Mike Fiers RHP

9-8, 3.49 (w/ HOU)

0-1, 10.80 (KCR)

Collin McHugh RHP

17-7, 3.93


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