HOUSTON -- The Astros set their roster for the American League Championship Series against the Yankees on Saturday afternoon, adding right-handed pitchers Bryan Abreu and Brad Peacock and dropping left-handed pitcher Wade Miley and outfielder Myles Straw. The rest of the 23 players remain the same from the AL Division Series.
The Astros carried 14 position players and 11 pitchers for the ALDS against the Rays, but they will adjust the mix to 13 position players and 12 pitchers for the ALCS against the Yanks, which begins tonight at Minute Maid Park.
“The roster at the end came down to the pitching decisions and Straw versus [Jake] Marisnick -- similar guys, offer the outfield/baserunning component,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said. “All these guys can go multiple innings, especially in the playoffs. I think the one-plus, the two-plus, we have a number of guys that can do it in the ’pen. [Jose] Urquidy will be in the ’pen, and if I end up using him aggressively in the first three games, he obviously doesn’t have to start Game 4. If I don’t use him, he’s likely to pitch in Game 4 in some capacity.”
Because the Yankees have so many dangerous right-handed bats, the Astros replaced Miley with a right-handed pitcher. Abreu, a hard-throwing rookie, has swing-and-miss stuff that could play well against the Yanks, a team he’s never faced.
Peacock, who was in the rotation to start the year before battling a right shoulder injury, held right-handers to a .553 OPS this year, and he could pitch beyond an inning. Peacock has playoff experience, too, having appeared in seven games in the postseason in 2017, with a save in Game 3 of the World Series against the Dodgers.
“I worked hard [to come back] from the shoulder injury, and the training staff has worked with me all year and [we] finally got it right,” said Peacock, who threw multiple live batting-practice sessions during the ALDS. “I’m doing great, and excited to be here and ready to help out wherever I can.”
Abreu, who spent the first half of the season at Double-A Corpus Christi, struck out 13 batters in 8 2/3 innings over seven games with Houston, and he could be a weapon in certain matchups.
“When we told him [in] the first round he wasn’t on the roster, [we said] to soak up the playoff atmosphere and be ready for Round 2,” Hinch said. “I didn’t tell him [then], but if we were going to play the Yankees, you could see the right-handedness was going to be very pro-Abreu [on the roster].”
The Yankees, of course, bashed 306 home runs this season, with power supplied by Edwin Encarnación, Gary Sánchez, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres and Aaron Judge.
The addition of Peacock and Abreu gives the Astros an all-right-handed bullpen, along with Roberto Osuna, Will Harris, Ryan Pressly, Josh James, Joe Smith, Héctor Rondón.
“For us, it was important to have as many right-handed weapons and give them different looks over a seven-game series, to have a lot of options that way,” Hinch said. “We've had some rosters we've had a lot of -- some lefties and sometimes we haven't in my five years here. But we had a lot of -- the majority of the season, if not all the season, was done without a lefty in the bullpen.”