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How potential Astros playoff roster may look

@brianmctaggart
October 1, 2019

HOUSTON -- The Astros are awaiting two major factors that will weigh heavily into their postseason roster configuration: the health of shortstop Carlos Correa, and which team they will play. • ALDS presented by Doosan, Game 1: Friday, 1 p.m. CT on FS1

HOUSTON -- The Astros are awaiting two major factors that will weigh heavily into their postseason roster configuration: the health of shortstop Carlos Correa, and which team they will play.

ALDS presented by Doosan, Game 1: Friday, 1 p.m. CT on FS1

Game Date Result Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 4 HOU 6, TB 2 Watch
Gm 2 Oct. 5 HOU 3, TB 1 Watch
Gm 3 Oct. 7 TB 10, HOU 3 Watch
Gm 4 Oct. 8 TB 4, HOU 1 Watch
Gm 5 Oct. 10 HOU 6, TB 1 Watch

Houston will serve as host for Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Friday against the winner of Wednesday’s American League Wild Card Game between the Rays and A’s.

Let’s take a closer look at how the roster may shape up for the ALDS:

Catchers (2): Robinson Chirinos, Martín Maldonado

The Astros aren’t going to carry three catchers, so this is the one area that looks about as set as it can be.

Infielders (6): José Altuve, Alex Bregman, Correa, Yuli Gurriel, Aledmys Díaz, Myles Straw

Correa missed the final six games of the season with recurring back tightness, but he maintains he is going to be ready to start Game 1. He’ll have to go through this week’s workouts first, but we’ll assume he will be ready to play on Friday. We’re sticking with the speedy Straw getting the final infield spot over Abraham Toro. The Astros have to be very careful with Correa’s health because if his back acts up during the series and they have to replace him on the roster during the ALDS, Correa would be out for the AL Championship Series as well.

Outfielders (6): Michael Brantley, George Springer, Josh Reddick, Jake Marisnick, Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker

Tucker likely played his way onto the roster after slashing .269/.319/.537 in 22 games in September, with four homers and 11 RBIs. Expect to him to be a left-handed bat option off the bench behind starters Brantley, Springer and Reddick. Marisnick’s defense make him an asset, and Alvarez figures to get all the at-bats at designated hitter.

Starting pitchers (4): Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Zack Greinke, Jose Urquidy

Wade Miley’s awful September has opened the door for Urquidy, the rookie who posted a 3.95 ERA in nine games (seven starts) for the Astros this year. He allowed one run and four hits in 11 innings in his two September starts. That’s likely enough for manager AJ Hinch to give him the ball in Game 4 over Miley, who had a 16.68 ERA in five September starts. If the Astros are down 2-1 heading in Game 4, they would likely bring back Verlander on short rest.

Relief pitchers (7): Roberto Osuna, Ryan Pressly, Will Harris, Héctor Rondón, Josh James, Wade Mile, Joe Smith.

Some tough decisions will have to be made, especially now that Miley is likely out of the rotation. Do they carry him as the only lefty in the bullpen? For now, we say yes. One factor to keep in mind is that the A’s handle left-handed pitching very well, which could cost Miley a spot if the Astros face Oakland. The addition of Miley might be at the expense of right-hander Brad Peacock or James. James has struck out 10 batters in six scoreless innings in his final six outings in September and throws gas, so it would be hard to leave him off. Another one to watch is rookie Bryan Abreu, who has nasty swing-and-miss stuff. Will they take him over, say, the veteran Rondón?

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.