NEXT MAN UP
How latest Jake Odorizzi news could impact Houston Astros moving forward
Editor's note: We have updated information on Jake Odorizzi's health. His injury appears to be a strained calf, according to Chandler Rome. He is expected to return this season.
Jake Odorizzi said he feared he ruptured his Achilles tendon, but an MRI revealed only some strains and sprains of other ligaments around the ankle/foot. Odorizzi will return this season and said this is “best case scenario.” A timeline is unclear, but Odorizzi is off crutches
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) May 18, 2022
Astros starter Jake Odorizzi was carted off with a leg injury on Monday night. Being carted off made it seem like it was a huge deal and Odorizzi could be out for quite a while. News came down from manager Dusty Baker that they “may have dodged a bullet” as he was put on the 15-day injured list. MRI results are pending, but the initial prognosis seems favorable.
Odorizzi has been very hit or miss in his tenure in Houston. He’s started and came out of the pen, but hasn’t been able to gain any level of consistency. Until recently. In his last four starts, he’s thrown 22 2/3 innings, given up 9 hits, and only surrendered 3 runs. Grown man ish. He’s made himself a valuable member of the rotation. With him sidelined, it’s time for others to step up.
Lance McCullers Jr is still about a month or so away from returning. He was switched from the 10-day to 60-day injured list on April 18. While he won’t be able to help in the short term, he should be able to help if Odorizzi is out for a long period of time.
The other starters will have to keep the consistency going. Justin Verlander is pitching like he’s trying to win another Cy Young. His 1.38 ERA would be the lowest since Bob Gibson's 1.12 ERA in 1968. I know it’s early, but that is sick through 7 starts and 45.2 innings. Nobody thought he'd come back after missing two years and be better than he was before. Framber Valdez and Luis GarcÍa have 2.93 and 2.94 ERAs respectively. At 28 and 25 years old, they’re two of the guys that’ll hopefully hold down the rotation for years to come. As good as they've both pitched, they'll be expected to keep and exceed the threshold they've set so far.
The two guys I’m mainly looking to step it up are José Urquidy and Cristian Javier. Both guys have youth on their side. Javier has been bounced between the rotation and the pen. Urquidy has seen some regular and postseason success but hasn't solidified himself because of his inconsistencies. While Urquidy has made the most of the chances both have been given, Javier has the potential to be good in either role. I would love to see him in the long relief role with some spot starts and/or opener gigs whenever the rotation is thrown out of whack. That role is just as, if not more, valuable than the back end of the rotation guys.
Having this many guys that can be counted on that have shown they're capable is a luxury. Health will continue to play a part in this team's potential because of the vets that mean so much to their success. If these young pitchers can fill some gaps, grow into their roles, stay consistent, and continue to develop, this team will be scary. They have enough arms, now it's time for them to find their grooves and produce.