The Astros have set their roster for the 2019 American League Division Series against the Wild Card-winning Rays. Former MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander will take the ball in Game 1 and square off against righty Tyler Glasnow. Here’s who they’ll carry for the forthcoming best-of-five series:
- Gerrit Cole (Game 2 starter)
- Zack Greinke (Game 3 starter)
- Will Harris
- Josh James
- Roberto Osuna
- Ryan Pressly
- Hector Rondon
- Joe Smith
- Jose Urquidy
- Justin Verlander (Game 1 starter)
Among the team’s notable omissions are right-handers Brad Peacock, Chris Devenski and Bryan Abreu, although Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle tweets that the organization felt Peacock would’ve needed at least one more rehab outing to sufficiently ramp up. He’d be an option, presumably, should the Astros advance to the ALCS.
The 22-year-old Abreu allowed just one run in a small sample of 8 2/3 innings down the stretch, pushing for a postseason roster spot in the process. However, Rondon allowed just six runs over his final 21 innings to close out the season and landed himself a roster spot despite a previously underwhelming season. Devenski, meanwhile, was one of the Astros’ best bullpen weapons in 2016-17 but has struggled through a pair of down seasons after dominating in his first two years as a big leaguer.
You won’t find many playoff teams that carry just one left-handed pitcher, but the Astros marched to the American League’s best record despite a lack of left-handed bullpen depth throughout the season. While either Framber Valdez or Cionel Perez could’ve given the club another option, they’ll instead load up on right-handed relief arms against a Rays club that is a bit deeper in right-handed bats than left-handed threats. Beyond that, the Astros are rich in right-handed relievers who are dominant against left-handed opponents. Pressly (.124/.165/.196), Osuna (.150/.214/.258), Harris (.207/.226/.264) and the young Urquidy (.179/.210/.321) each overwhelmed left-handed batters in 2019.