MLB Insider Discusses Pressure Houston Astros Manager Faces After Sweep

An MLB insider discusses the challenges that new Houston Astros manager Joe Espada faces after getting swept in his first series.
Mar 15, 2024; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; Houston Astros manager Joe Espada leaves the mound after a pitching change during the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
Mar 15, 2024; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; Houston Astros manager Joe Espada leaves the mound after a pitching change during the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. / Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
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The Houston Astros had the worst possible start to the 2024 season imaginable, getting swept by the New York Yankees in a four-game series. While it’s just the start of the season and the Astros are dealing with injuries, it was less than ideal to begin the Joe Espada era this way. 

With multiple blown leads, the bullpen having questions, and getting swept by their rival, Will Leitch of MLB.com believes Espada has his hands full already and discussed that in his Opening Weekend takeaway for each team.

“As if it wasn’t hard enough taking over a team with seven straight ALCS appearances -- and all the expectations that go with that -- the new Astros manager learned this weekend that no matter how much talent you have, when your bullpen falters and you can’t get big hits with runners in scoring position, you will lose. (Again, and again, and again.)"


Expectations are high for Houston and that’s going to continue to be the case for however long Espada manages the team. With seven straight ALCS appearances, the expectation isn’t only for them to get back to their eighth straight ALCS, but to make it to the World Series and bring another ring back to the city.


The middle of the bullpen is a major concern which was to be expected coming into the season. Adding Josh Hader was a necessity, but losing Ryne Stanek, Phil Maton, and Hector Neris was as big of a blow to a bullpen as any team in baseball.

Leitch also points out this team is going to have their hands full for the foreseeable future, writing "The schedule doesn’t get any easier: They’ve got the Blue Jays, Braves and defending champion Rangers (twice) over the next fortnight."

Despite the star-studded talent on the top of the roster, it’s tough to win games with a below-average bullpen. If it continues to be an issue throughout the next few weeks, expect the front office to make a move or two.

It’s early and Espada can only do as well as he has, but it was a disappointment in his first series and something to monitor moving forward.


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Jon Conahan

JON CONAHAN

Jon Conahan has been covering all major sports since 2019. He is a 2022 graduate of the Bellisario School of Journalism at Penn State University and previously played D1 baseball.