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Starters effective, but not working deep

HOUSTON -- Through its first five games of the season, Houston starting pitching led the American League with a combined 2.63 ERA. The four starters -- Bud Norris, Lucas Harrell, Philip Humber and Brad Peacock -- had allowed two earned runs or less in each start, with Norris getting two starts.

If there's any drawback with the starters' success, it's that they're not pitching deep into games.

"All of them that have taken the mound have given us an opportunity to win the game," said manager Bo Porter. "If you can get the starting pitching, you'll be in a lot of ballgames.

"You always want your starters to go deep. But at the same time, we're going to monitor certain guys' pitch counts a little more than other guys. And as the games start to progress, you'll let your eyes tell you when a guy should continue on."

In a 122-pitch outing on Saturday, Norris lasted just 5 2/3 innings. Norris has gone 5 2/3 in both of his starts. Harrell went six innings in his first start while Humber pitched 5 2/3 innings and Peacock made it through just 4 1/3 innings.

Through Saturday, Houston starting pitching had allowed only seven earned runs in 27 1/3 innings. The White Sox were second in the league in ERA by starting pitchers at 2.76, followed by the Rays (3.06) and Rangers (3.31).

Richard Dean is a reporter for
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