ROSTERS ARE SET

Examining several surprising omissions from Houston Astros ALDS roster

Here's who made the cut. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

The Houston Astros announced their ALDS roster on Tuesday morning, and for the most part, this is what most Astros fans expected. The big question was how many pitchers the team would carry, and how that would impact the amount of position players that would make the cut.


The Astros have decided to roll with 12 pitchers and 14 position players. By doing this, they have the luxury of Jake Meyers, David Hensley, and Mauricio Dubon all making the roster. While these aren't exactly the players that first come to mind when you think of the Astros, they have however looked more serviceable at the plate than Trey Mancini. As much as fans love Mancini, he hasn't hit over .200 since joining the club. If Mancini's struggles continue in the postseason, the Astros have other options.

Jake Meyers has played well since rejoining the team, and he could be used as a pinch runner if the team goes with McCormick in center field as expected. David Hensley has an OPS of 1.027 this year in limited action, and he can play all the infield positions and some outfield. The only worry with Dubon making the roster is that he will be used to play center field during Justin Verlander's starts. But Dusty Baker told the media recently, the team may look to add more offense to the lineup in the postseason, and that's why McCormick made the start in center for Verlander's last start. Baker wanted McCormick to get a feel for how the ball comes off the bat with JV on the hill.

Who didn't make the cut?

Relief pitchers Phil Maton (3.84 ERA) and Will Smith (3.97 ERA) are not on the ALDS roster. Both pitchers have struggled as of late, and despite those struggles, it is a bit surprising that manager Dusty Baker left both pitchers off the roster. Both relievers have been used to match up against left-handed hitters. Maton is right-handed, but was used a ton by Dusty against left-handed hitters last postseason. Many believed Baker would have kept at least one of these guys for that role.

Instead, the Astros decided to keep two starting pitchers (Jose Urquidy, Luis Garcia) in their place. I certainly understand why Dusty trusts Urquidy and Garcia more, but I am surprised an old school manager like Baker would go into the ALDS with no lefty specialist coming out of the bullpen. Of course, with the recent rule changes, lefty specialists aren't as valuable as they once were. Baseball is evolving, that's for sure. Just wait until next year, when we see even more dramatic changes to the rules.

Editor's note: Phil Maton's injury may have impacted his spot on the roster.

Up next: The Astros face the Mariners on Tuesday afternoon at 2:37 PM for Game 1 of the ALDS.

Looking ahead: We finally have confirmation. Dusty Baker announced on Tuesday that Framber Valdez will pitch Game 2 with Lance McCullers getting the ball in Game 3.



Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
Upton and Verlander are headed to the Big Apple. Photo by Elsa/ Getty Images.

News erupted on a relatively quiet Monday, December 5 that Houston Astros superstar ace and Cy Young Award-winnerJustin Verlander inked a deal with the New York Mets.

According to the New York Post, Verlander, a free agent, agreed to a two-year, $86 million deal with the Mets, with a vesting, third-year option for $35 million. While that's huge news in the world of pro baseball, Verlander's superstar model wife Kate Upton has been also trending on Twitter.

No surprise there, as cover girl and fashion influencer Upton boasts more than 6 million followers on Instagram alone and one of the most followed models on the globe. But it's not a cover shot or sizzling bikini pic making the rounds, but rather, a video of the supermodel shooting the bird to Philadelphia Phillies fans.

Upton, an oft-smiling mom and wife, had no problem backing down from Philly Fan with a double-barreled, middle finger salute. While the audio is hard to decipher, we're guessing Upton didn't edit her smack talk in the dubious City of Brotherly Love.

Plenty of local talk (if one is interested in that sort of thing) points to the Mets being the team for "real" NYC baseball fans, while Yankees fans are said to be band-wagoning, late to games, and full of corporate partners. It's also good optics that Verlander didn't bolt for the team that the Astros dispatched in a four-game sweep on the way to their second World Series title.

Houston fans will no doubt miss Upton, who wed Verlander, gave birth to darling daughter Genevieve, and essentially broke the internet when she donned a retro Astros jacket — making it an instant sellout — all while here in the Bayou City. As transplants from there regularly point out, Houston is notoriously friendlier than the Big Apple.

But, something tells Upton, who has proven that she's not afraid to go publicly potty-mouthed in defense of JV, will have zero problem handling any mouthy NYC fans.

Upton clearly gives zero bleeps when defending her man. Kate Upton/Twitter

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome