There are “two developing holes” on the Astros roster that the team could address at the trade deadline, ESPN’s Buster Olney writes in his latest Insider-only column. One is a big bat capable of filling the left field or DH spots, and the other is a potential closer. For the former, Houston has a number of internal candidates on hand (Marwin Gonzalez, Evan Gattis, Josh Reddick, Jake Marisnick) who have either struggled or been battling injuries, while youngsters like J.D. Davis, Tony Kemp, or prospect Kyle Tucker represent more options as manager A.J. Hinch juggles his lineup. Ken Giles has a 4.50 ERA and has allowed a lot of hard contact this season (.368 xwOBA), though he’s also given up just one walk and one homer in 18 innings, against 16 strikeouts. Given Giles’ struggles last postseason, however, the Astros could very well look at pitchers like Kelvin Herrera or Brad Hand to bolster themselves for some important ninth innings come this October.
Here’s some more from around the AL West…
- Sticking with the Astros relief corps, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (video link) believes the team could specifically target a left-hander at the deadline. While Chris Devenski and Hector Rondon can handle left-handed batters, the only actual southpaw in the Houston pen is Tony Sipp, who has become a spare part rather than a regularly-used arm. The questions surrounding Giles notwithstanding, Rosenthal thinks adding a lefty might be the only real relief need for Houston, as the Astros have one of the best overall bullpens in the game.
- Athletics starter Daniel Gossett left today’s game after five innings due to elbow tightness, though he told reporters (including Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle) that his removal was precautionary. “I just didn’t want to overextend anything or have it lead to anything that might be worrisome,” Gossett said. The right-hander will undergo an MRI tomorrow in Oakland. Any missed time for Gossett would further thin out an already injury-riddled A’s pitching staff, as Gossett was himself a rotation fill-in while Brett Anderson and Andrew Triggs were out on the disabled list.
- Rookie Isiah Kiner-Falefa has emerged as a versatile part of the Rangers roster, and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News chronicles at how Rangers scout Steve Flores came upon the youngster almost by accident. Kiner-Falefa initially caught Flores’ attention while the scout was on hand to watch another member of Kiner-Falefa’s high school team in Hawaii, and the interest developed to the point that Texas selected Kiner-Falefa in the fourth round of the 2013 draft.