The Houston Astros benefited from a surplus of starting pitching. Comparing their World Series run in recent months to their push in 2021, one thing the Astros lacked that year was depth in the rotation.
One of those arms that fluctuated in the middle-to-back end of Houston's rotation was José Urquidy. In his fourth Major League season, Urquidy started a career-high 29 games, seeing a rise in his ERA (3.94).
The righty isn't known for strikeouts, but compared to a similar sample in 2021, Urquidy saw a decrease in his strikeout-per-nine innings. Dropping his cutter roughly two months into the season, the hurler did find improvements though.
From June 3 to Aug. 27, Urquidy was efficient. The righty posted a 3.16 ERA in 94.0 innings pitched through 15 starts. But one thing that looked to be a thorn in Urquidy's hand were home runs; the righty surrendered 29 — the fourth-most in the American League.
Into the postseason, Urquidy's usage was sparse. The righty made both rosters for the American League Division Series and the American League Championship Series but wasn't used.
Through seven games and two sweeps, Urquidy waited his turn in the bullpen. That turn finally came in Game 3 of the World Series. As the Philadelphia Phillies clubbed away home runs off Lance McCullers Jr., building a lead that Houston's offense couldn't match, Urquidy's appearance was important, even in a blow out.
The 27-year-old hurled 3.0 scoreless innings, striking out four and issuing one walk to one hit. Saving the bullpen from further damage, Urquidy put the Astros' pitching staff in a rested position for the following three contests.
Urquidy didn't finish his second 162-game season with an improved line, but he did show flashes of the potential he can reach in 2023. As one of the six starting options for Houston, Urquidy will continue to offer leverage in the rotation and even in long relief when needed.
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