• By now you have heard the news, Jose Veras has been shipped out of Houson to Detroit. Veras was closing games for the Astros but in Detroit he will be relegated to setup duty as Joaquin Benoit will continue to pitch in the ninth, something he’s done quite well going 10/10 on save opportunities. When Benoit needs a break, I’d put Veras second in the pecking order ahead of Drew Smyly. Smyly has been the better pitcher this year and even fares well against opposite handed hitters with a .281 wOBA against right-handed batters this year. However, Veras comes with the Closer Experience™ label that Jim Leyland seems to prefer, and this could also allow Smyly to throw multiple innings on occasion.
As far as the Astros side is concerned, Mike Petriello had a great breakdown on what Houston’s bullpen will look like following the trade. I also agree with Mike that Jose Cisnero will take over the ninth in Houston and rather than echo all of his points, I suggest you read his take. Setting up Cisnero should be lefty Wesley Wright who has a pretty solid 3.55 xFIP on the year, but has struggled against right-handed batters his whole career (.369 wOBA against righties in 126.1 IP). Placing whoever is behind Wright might be anyone’s guess at the moment. Previously I might have said Hector Ambriz but he was sent to AAA today with Josh Zeid and Chia-Jen Lo getting the promotion to Houston. Although he just got the call, with names like Travis Blackley, Brett Oberholtzer and Josh Fields my money is on Josh Fields seeing some of the more higher leverage innings that are left. Acquired from Philadelphia in the Hunter Pence trade, Fields is a tall right-hander with some swing and miss stuff (10.92 K/9 in AAA this year), the Astros should be curious to see what he has.
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