Why Astros response to bullpen struggles will be telling during crucial stretch


Why Astros response to bullpen struggles will be telling during crucial stretch
Houston's bullpen is not living up to expectations.Composite Getty Image.

The Houston Astros were on the verge of sweeping the Angels over the weekend until their bullpen issues struck again. Ryan Pressly was unable to hold a two-run lead in the eighth inning, allowing the game to be tied 7-7.

Things went from bad to worse in the ninth inning, when Josh Hader allowed a 2-run homer, which won the game for the Angels.

Despite Hader's performance on Sunday, he's been good this season overall, but Pressly is a different story. He's allowed runs in three of his last six outings, and sports a 0-3 record with a 5.40 ERA.

A quick look at the post below shows Pressly already has five blown saves this season. Manager Joe Espada said after the game that Pressly's role would not change. But one has to wonder how much longer the team can continue to run Pressly out there with the game hanging in the balance.

The time is now

The Astros' schedule is very favorable right now. If there was ever a time to dig out of the hole they're in, this is it. They have to find a way to stack wins against the Giants, Tigers, and White Sox. If they don't, it's hard to see them being buyers at the trade deadline, which is their intention according to GM Dana Brown.

Be sure to watch the video above as we discuss the Astros' bullpen woes, and examine some options the club could turn to if the issues persist.

Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and Charlie Pallilo discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Most Popular

Jose Abreu is no longer an Astro. Composite Getty Image.

The Houston Astros released José Abreu on Friday, cutting ties with the former AL MVP less than halfway through a three-year, $58.5 million contract.

The 37-year-old Abreu was batting .124 (14 for 113) with two homers and seven RBIs this season, during which he spent time in the minors trying to fix his swing. The Astros still owe him $30.8 million from the deal he signed before last season.

A three-time All-Star during his nine years with the Chicago White Sox, Abreu was named MVP during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He was the AL Rookie of the Year in 2014 after defecting from his native Cuba the previous year.

His production dropped off significantly with the Astros. He batted .237 last year, the lowest average of his career, with 18 homers and 90 RBIs.

Abreu is a career .283 hitter with 263 homers and 960 RBIs in 11 seasons.

Houston owes him $30,822,504, including $11,322,504 remaining from this year’s salary and $19.5 million for 2025. Any team can sign him for a prorated share of the $740,000 major league minimum, with the Astros responsible for the rest.

Be sure to watch the video above as Charlie Pallilo, Brandon Strange, and Josh Jordan of Stone Cold 'Stros react to the news.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM