As reported by ESPN, the Houston Astros acquired pitcher Gerrit Cole from the Pittsburgh Pirates Saturday night and may have stamped their second straight trip to the World Series in the process. While teams such as the New York Yankees are going offensive, the Astros understand how important pitching is. Home runs are good, but what if your opponent never gives you the chance? This is what the Houston Astros are hoping for.
If you’re the Astros, how do you get back to the World Series?
Easy, you start with what got you there in the first place. The Astros could’ve made a call to the Miami Marlins regarding Giancarlo Stanton or the Pittsburgh Pirates about Andrew McCutchen, but why? There was no need for that when they led the majors in just about every offensive statistical category. Why add more when they already have the best? With offense out the way, the Houston Astros decide to make a run as one of the dominant pitching rotations in MLB history.
No, Gerrit Cole is not Justin Verlander or Jake Arrieta, but he will bring a stability to the order that was missing during their World Series run last season. While the pitching did its job against the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Los Angeles Dodgers, it was mainly the Verlander and Dallas Keuchel show. Lance McCullers had a few moments, but outside of those three, the Astros struggled. With Cole possibly penciled in as third in the rotation, it will give the Astros another innings eater to offset the Yankees and Red Sox power hitters.
What’s The Projected Starting Pitching Rotation For The Hoston Astros in 2018?
To be honest, that’s an easy call: Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Gerrit Cole, Lance McCullers, and Charlie Morton. Take a minute to look at that rotation and see where there are any holes. This is why the Astros had a better offseason than the Yankees. The Yanks made a huge splash with Stanton, however, by adding Cole, the Astros told the rest of MLB that pitching wins championships, not offense. For years, the Yankees have lived by that motto, but somehow they have forgotten that. It’s the same with the Chicago Cubs and Dodgers now. It’s all about swinging for the fences instead of finding people to keep the ball in the park.
The Astros won the World Series with timely hitting and precise pitching, but teams are now loading up at the batter’s box to give Verlander and crew a run for their money. The Astros played it smart. If teams want to stay offensive, they will go defensive. It doesn’t matter how fast Stanton’s bat speed is or how hard Aaron Judge can hit, it will always come down to the placement of the ball from the pitcher’s mound. If Cole can give the Astros 30 starts, 200 innings and another season of 190 strikeouts, the Astros just put themselves in place for a repeat.
While McCullers has done great for Houston, the postseason is tailored for three starters. That will leave a shortened rotation of Verlander, Keuchel, and Cole. The Astros thinking with this trade was to let the Yankees and Dodgers swing for the fences while they counter by giving them nothing to make contact with. That’s how you win championships.