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Where Astros' pitching stands after LA series

Despite not having best stuff, Miley limits Halos to just one run
@SarahWexler32
July 19, 2019

ANAHEIM -- The Astros looked much more like themselves in the final two games of their series at Angel Stadium, rediscovering the timely hits and effective pitching that had been lacking in the first two games of the set. On Thursday night, Wade Miley allowed two runs (one earned) in

ANAHEIM -- The Astros looked much more like themselves in the final two games of their series at Angel Stadium, rediscovering the timely hits and effective pitching that had been lacking in the first two games of the set.

On Thursday night, Wade Miley allowed two runs (one earned) in 5 1/3 innings of a 6-2 victory over the Angels, helping Houston to take the finale and salvage a series split. Paired with Gerrit Cole's fine start the game before, it was a return to normalcy for the Astros.

Box score

"You get run support like that, you can kind of try to get into the game and get into a rhythm with all your pitches," said Miley. "And I was able to do that, for the most part. I was a little bit wilder than I'd like, but we worked through it."

Yordan Alvarez jump-started Houston's offense with a two-run single in the first. George Springer hit a leadoff homer in a three-run third, and Alex Bregman roped a leadoff dinger in the fifth.

Miley admitted he didn't have his best stuff, citing an ineffective fastball and an early lack of command. His manager praised the left-hander's ability to pull through in spite of that.

"He was a little erratic, even for the zeros that he was putting up and the non-hits," manager AJ Hinch said. "He was doing a good job just getting through the game. As the inning unfolded where I took him out in the sixth, we didn't play great defense behind him. We could've got a few outs, but for him to get into the sixth, get to our primary bullpen, we had a lot of guys rested tonight, it was good work."

Miley's gutty performance has repercussions that go beyond Thursday. Relievers absorbed eight innings during the first two games in Anaheim, and Cole and Miley helped restore order by providing some length. Even though the bullpen was tasked with the final 3 2/3 innings of Thursday's game, none of the four relievers used needed more than 18 pitches. With Justin Verlander going in Friday's series opener against the Rangers, Houston's relief corps should be well-rested when things get a bit dicier after that.

Dad shocked as kid throws Bregman's home run ball back

No starter has been announced for Saturday, and, as in the first two games of the series in Anaheim, it may be an opener, with someone potentially getting called up from Triple-A. Rogelio Armenteros, Tuesday's "bulk" pitcher, will make his first true start Sunday, having just three Major League appearances under his belt. Odds are good the bullpen will factor heavily into both of those games. How does Hinch feel his team is setting up there?

"Great," he said. "I feel good about the 'pen. We had a couple of really good starting pitchers go the last couple of games, so we have plenty of bullpen, plenty of options."

The Astros, of course, still need a more long-term solution for their dearth of rotation depth, most likely via trade. That'll be true even when Brad Peacock eventually returns. For as good as the Astros are, a team that hopes to make a deep postseason run will require an additional dependable starting arm.

For now, though, they've got a short-term sense of security while they attempt to work out just who that'll be.

Sarah Wexler is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter @SarahWexler32.