All-Star Worthy

Why is no one talking about Collin McHugh?

McHugh is on roll right now. Collin McHugh/Facebook

The big conversation regarding the Astros’ bullpen has been circled around Ken Giles. Let’s put the Giles conversation aside and talk about another member of the Astros’ bullpen. Collin McHugh’s numbers alone can vouch for a spot in the All-Star game. 

His notable pitching isn’t a new thing; McHugh led the team in ERA after his first season with the Astros in 2014. Fast forward to the 2017 postseason, McHugh is on a World Series champions’ roster. McHugh was left off of the roster for the ALDS, but made appearances against the Yankees and in the memorable Game 5 of the World Series. Despite an underwhelming performance, McHugh is proving to be an impressive and reliable part of the bullpen for the 2018 Astros.

McHugh has appeared in 27 games and pitched 40 innings in 2018. AJ Hinch has an obvious trust with the 31-year-old pitcher based on his stable position in the starting rotation last season. However, a relief spot is a different story. Hinch has seen his relief pitcher rack up 52 strikeouts with a 0.90 ERA. This ERA is good enough for second amongst all AL relief pitchers. In fact, the Astros have four of the top 20 AL relief ERAs with Héctor Rondón (1.44), Chris Devenski (1.57), and Brad Peacock (2.25).

McHugh is beginning to appear in more intense situations as he continues to prove himself through the season. He pitched three innings in a tie game against the Texas Rangers on July 4th, giving up one hit and struck out one. McHugh stayed on the mound through the ninth inning, earning the win with the help of Giles’ tenth-inning save. This road win is McHugh’s 15th road appearance in which he’s maintained a 0.71 and struck out 29 over 25.1 IP.

If the numbers aren’t enough to convince you that McHugh deserves an All-Star spot this season, ask Lance McCullers Jr., Joe Musgrove, and a lot of the Astros Twitter fanbase. McCullers Jr. tells his Twitter followers,

“I’M ONLY GOING TO SAY THIS ONCE…. SO LISTEN UP…. IF @Collin_McHugh ISN’T IN THE 2018 ALL-STAR GAME… THEN CANCEL THE GAME… IDC ABOUT ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE BEST PERFORMERS EARNING THEIR #ASG NOD AND HE DESERVES IT x1000 @MLB @astros #asgworthy.”

Collin McHugh has absolutely proved himself as an All-Star pitcher and is giving AJ Hinch some assurance from the bullpen that has been struggling throughout the season. As long as he can continue performing at this level, Hinch may see him as a trustworthy option in high-leverage situations come playoff time.

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This is getting out of hand. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Allsport/Getty Images.

Dr. Rick warns his patients, young homeowners who are turning into their parents, you can expect to pay more for snacks and drinks at a movie theater. It's the same deal at a professional sports venue. Three years ago, I put a down payment on a cheeseburger at Toyota Center ... I still have three more payments to go before I get it.

But this is ridiculous. The PGA Championship, the lesser (least) of golf's majors, is charging $18 for a beer, a 25-ounce Michelob Ultra, at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa. It's $19 for a Stella Artois. You can buy a six-pack for less at the supermarket. Aren't there laws against price gouging, like during a hurricane? Isn't Tulsa where the Golden Hurricanes play? Get FEMA in here. Did tournament directors get together and ponder, how can we piss off our fans? Sure, it's Tulsa and there's not much else to do, but that's no excuse.

Charging $18 for a beer makes the concession stands at Minute Maid Park look like a Sunday morning farmer's market. A 25-ounce domestic beer during an Astros game is $13.49. A 25-ounce premium beer is $14.45. Yeah, that's high for a beer, but at Minute Maid Park there are lots of hands in the till. Aramark wants to make a profit, the taxman has big mitts, and the Astros want their cut, too. Look, you want to sign Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez to an extension or not? Then drink up and don't complain. Some quiet grumbling and head-shaking is permitted, however.

You know the PGA Championship is charging too much for a beer when even the rich pampered players take notice. "18 (!!!!!) for a beer ... uhhh what," former PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas tweeted. "Good thing I don't drink a lot."

Like he will be in line for a beer at a public concession booth, anyway.

Of course there will be fans sneaking in beer in baggies strapped to their ankles, like stuffing your pockets with store-bought Snickers before going to the movies. It doesn't have to be this way. The Masters, the most prestigious golf event, charges only $5 for both domestic and imported beer. I know it's a gimmick, part of The Masters mystique along with pimento sandwiches for $1.50, but still it's a welcome gesture. You never lose when you treat the public fairly. When Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened in Atlanta, Falcons owner Arthur Blank insisted that food vendors charge the same inside the stadium as they do at their regular restaurants. Same thing when Denver International Airport opened, fast food restaurants couldn't jack up their prices to their captive customers. Here? There needs to be a loan window outside the Cinnabon booth at Bush-Intercontinental.

Except for the Masters in Augusta, golf's majors aren't tied to a city. A major comes to a city maybe every few years or in most cases never. There's no need to ride into a city like the James Gang, rob the local bank, and high tail it out of town. Golf should be the last professional sport to stick it to fans. While the game has made strides to open its arms to lower-income youths, golf remains an elitist, extremely expensive sport for regular folk. Equipment is expensive, private courses are exclusive and country clubs are exclusionary. Public courses are less expensive but still expensive and crowded. Plus there's never been a professional sport more dangerously dominated by one person than golf. I can imagine network executives on their knees praying that Tiger Woods makes the cut and plays on weekends. Otherwise, TV ratings go straight into the toilet, you know, like whatever team Mattress Mack is betting on. (I joke because I love, and frankly a little scared.)

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