The Astros' bullpen has been huge so far in 2015, and as a result they're still playing quite well.
Troy Taormina/Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
One of the main reasons the Houston Astros are in first place in the American League West this far into the season has to do with their above-average bullpen.
How does a club featuring a starting lineup filled with players struggling to hit over .200 (except for otherwordly second baseman Jose Altuve, of course) win? Well, the new-look bullpen corps has been stellar. Newcomers Luke Gregerson, Pat Neshek and Will Harris have joined holdovers Josh Fields, Tony Sipp and Chad Qualls to post the A.L.’s second-best bullpen ERA (2.13, trailing only the Kansas City Royals).
As Gregerson told Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, all this bullpen success is working out exactly as he figured it would: "I’m not surprised at all the way this team is pitching. A lot of us have played together in the past and everybody’s career is going to show what we’re all capable of. I think there’s a couple of guys that are pitching better than they thought they might have, but I think the talent level is there and it’s just a matter of getting that confidence and consistency to really stretch it out for a long period of time."
Article continues below ...
Manager A.J. Hinch’s mix-and-match style is a hit among the relievers, too. As Neshek told McTaggart: "It’s pretty cool every night there could be a new guy pitching the seventh, giving one of us a night off or giving someone else a night off the next night. We’re relying on each other, and it’s a great sign."
That reliance has helped the Astros a lot so far in 2015, and if they keep it up the club will have a great chance of sustaining their early success.