We may have two more teams cementing (to some degree) their back-end pictures. After Chad Qualls and Matt Albers wrapped up a no-save situation Tuesday, last night Albers recorded four outs before Josh Fields came on for a scoreless frame to log the first save of this Houston Astros committee.
Strop of luck for Pedro's stock?
Of course, Bo Porter had said this was a committee made up of this trio, but Fields has had the stuff to be a stopper throughout his pro career. He faced three LHBs, so that's a sound sign that they trust him in those situations.
You can't judge something permanently based on the first opportunity, but it's safe to say that in this tenuous triple-threat match, Fields gets the first pinfall and leads at the moment. Qualls and Albers are best meant as setup men, so hopefully Porter agrees.
Hopefully it won't cost you anything or a lot to pick Fields up, because this situation could become frustrating when Jesse Crain (biceps) gets back, likely sometime in the next month.
This afternoon, many may have wondered why former Astro and current Chicago Cubs closer Jose Veras remained on the sidelines in a save situation. Well, he threw 38 pitches in last night's 16-inning affair with the Pittsburgh Pirates, so he had an excuse.
Still, since he blew the save Wednesday and has been struggling since spring games started, it makes Pedro Strop's successful Thursday SVO a bit more interesting.
Strop is following a similar career path to Veras': He's had ample dominance but also too many control woes, yet he has teased baby-step improvements there as he's gained more experience. Strop's 4.70 ERA wasn't much better than Veras' 7.00, so it's not as if he would have a huge lead. Plus, Veras will get a few more assignments, most likely, since Renteria was quick to establish him as stopper soon after the Cubbies acquired him.
But it's a legit handcuff situation for the near future and worth a low-commitment trial to Strop in mixed games. (Arodys Vizcaino is still a fine speculation for later in the year.) Veras probably isn't another Carlos Marmol; his sinker probably hasn't been sinking. You can't be too careful.
For more, head to our Closer Depth Charts.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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