HOUSTON – The Houston Astros placed long relief man Brad Peacock on the injured list Wednesday, weakening an already, let's say interesting, bullpen.
The Astros are down the team's best setup man, Ryan Pressly, who is out 4-6 weeks after knee surgery. Without Pressly, some of the roles have changed slightly, and without Peacock those could change even more.
Here's a look at how Peacock's injury, on top of Pressly's affects the way A.J. Hinch deploys his bullpen.
WHERE THERE'S A WILL, THERE'S A WAY
Will Harris has been dominant this season, and has been used in a number of roles – including many times, as a fire extinguisher. Hinch likes to bring in Harris when starters or other relievers have left runners on base, but without Pressly, Harris pitched the 8th inning on August 19, then had his first save on August 24, a situation Pressly would have normally been in. Harris has a 1.60 ERA.
The corresponding move to Peacock's IL trip is calling up Cy Sneed, who has been called up and sent down five times since the Astros first brought him up on June 27th.
Sneed has been used in a long relief role, pitching just four times, but throwing 12.2 innings. He's been okay in the role, pitching to a 4.26 ERA.
JOSH JAMES BECOMES IMPORTANT
Astros reliever Josh James has far less experience than Brad Peacock, but similar ability to pitch multiple innings due to his years as a starter in the minors. James can be deployed in a number of ways due to his length, but also late due to his velocity. The flamethrower hasn't been terrific this season (4.73 ERA) but has impressive strikeout numbers and his power could play in the playoffs. He didn't pitch well in two appearances in the ALCS in 2018, but his high strikeout rate is tempting. James is due to be back from a shoulder injury soon.
BULLPEN NOW vs. FUTURE
The Astros bullpen currently looks like this: Osuna, Harris, Smith, Rondon, Devenski, McHugh, Biagini, Sneed
Keeping with having 8 relievers, with a fully healthy postseason bullpen could look something like:
Osuna, Pressly, Harris, Smith, Rondon, Devenski, McHugh and Peacock.