Houston Astros Skipper Backs Struggling Star After Recent Disaster

Joe Espada continues to back his struggling star despite him putting together a brutal year for the Houston Astros.
Jun 4, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Ryan Pressly (55) delivers a pitch during the ninth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Minute Maid Park
Jun 4, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Ryan Pressly (55) delivers a pitch during the ninth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Minute Maid Park / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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It finally seemed like the Houston Astros were putting together momentum at the most important time of their season.

The offense looked to be clicking, having scored 6.0 runs per game over their previous five contests coming into Sunday's finale where they were searching for a sweep against the Los Angeles Angels.

Then, a blown lead has brought things back into reality where they are 6.5 games back of first place and 4.5 out of the Wild Card.

For a while, thought, it looked like they would keep their momentum rolling.

With Justin Verlander on the mound, the Astros took a 3-1 lead before their ace squandered it in the fifth inning when he gave up his fourth run of the game. However, the offense came to play, putting up four runs the very next frame to take a 7-4 lead.

Houston got to backend of the game leading by two runs as their former elite closer Ryan Pressly was called upon for the eighth inning.

Unfortunately, the veteran put together another disastrous performance.

The right-hander immediately gave up a ground rule double and then an RBI double two batters later that allowed the Angels to cut the deficit to one. Because of a wild pitch, the man standing on second moved over to third and was able to score on a ground ball to tie things up.

That ended Pressly's day as they had to call upon Josh Hader to get them out of this jam before the ninth inning.

Ultimately, Hader gave up a two-run walk-off homer the next frame.

The struggles of their setup man continues to be a frustrating thing for this team. Pressly now has a 5.40 ERA, putting him on pace to finish with above a 4.00 for the first time in his almost 7.5-year tenure with the Astros. His ERA+ of 72 would easily be the lowest of his career.

But, manager Joe Espada is not giving up hope that he can turn things around.

"We're going to continue to rely on [Pressly]. He's one of our guys. He's a big part of our bullpen, and I believe in him. He has gotten big outs for us in the past and he will [again]," he stated according to Michael Shapiro of Chron.com.

His belief is clear as he used him in back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday.

Maybe that changes moving forward as it's clear the 35-year-old's arm is not quite as live as it used to be in scenarios like this, but Espada isn't going to shy away from calling upon his veteran out of the bullpen.

Brad Wakai


Brad Wakai graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Journalism. While an undergrad, he did work at the student radio station covering different Penn State athletic programs like football, basketball, volleyball, soccer and other sports. Brad currently covers the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros for Sports Illustrated/FanNation. He is also the Lead Contributor for Nittany Lions Wire of Gannett Media where he continues to cover Penn State athletics. Brad is the host of the sports podcast I Said What I Said, discussing topics across the NFL, College Football, the NBA and other sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @bwakai