Sneed provides needed relief in MLB debut

Less than 24 hours after callup, righty goes six innings with four strikeouts

June 27th, 2019

HOUSTON -- Considering he had downed a large amount of coffee -- the result of sleeping only 30 minutes in the wake of finding out late Wednesday he was set to join a Major League roster for the first time -- right-hander said he was quite calm when he took the mound Thursday.

Perhaps it was because his Major League debut came earlier than he had expected and certainly earlier than the Astros had hoped. Another abbreviated outing from a starting pitcher, with giving up six runs in three innings, meant Sneed was pressed into duty in the fourth inning of the Astros’ 10-0 loss to the Pirates. He threw six innings in relief at Minute Maid Park and later said he was “surprisingly relaxed.”

“It was pretty incredible,” Sneed said. “I would have liked for it to go a little bit better, but I was happy I got to get in there and get some innings.”

The Astros summoned Sneed from Triple-A Round Rock, where he’d largely been a starter, late Wednesday after Framber Valdez lasted only three innings in his start, which forced manager AJ Hinch to use two position players on the mound to finish off the game.

“Thank God we did,” Hinch said of calling up Sneed. “We needed it. I didn’t want to use him that way, because that meant the game was not in our favor, but he picked up the entire bullpen in his Major League debut in six innings. He should feel really proud. He came up and did exactly what we asked him to do.”

The Astros lost their first series at home this year and lost for the ninth time in their past 11 games. Their division lead over the Rangers in the American League West is down to 4 1/2 games. All-Star outfielder George Springer called it a “little blip.”

“It happens,” he said. “Ideally, you don’t want it to happen. The guys in this club and the staff expect us to play better.”

Peacock didn’t have feel for many pitches and didn’t execute for the Astros, who were outscored 24-2 in the final two games of the Pirates series.

“It comes down to executing your pitches and being able to attack some weaknesses in the hitter,” Hinch said. “Their lineup has done a great job putting the bat on the ball and executing their offensive game plan against our pitching and being the aggressor against pitches they can hit.”

Sneed allowed a leadoff homer to Starling Marte in the fifth before striking out Corey Dickerson later in the inning for his first career punchout. He threw 81 pitches overall, allowing four runs and striking out four batters.

“It’s something you always dream about, being able to pitch in the big leagues,” Sneed said. “That was great. I wish the outcome of the game would have been a little bit better.”

Sneed, who was named to the Pacific Coast League All-Star team on Wednesday, went 5-6 with a 4.48 ERA in 14 games (eight starts) for the Express. Last year, he went 10-6 with a 3.83 ERA at Triple-A.

Sneed, who worked as a substitute teacher in Alaska in the offseason, was acquired from the Brewers on Nov. 19, 2015, in exchange for Jonathan Villar. He’s appeared in 128 career Minor League games, throwing 607 1/3 innings.

“I told my wife a whole bunch of times last night that I always thought that I could do it and get here, but in the back of your mind, there’s always a little bit of doubt,” he said.