By Derek Fogel

Houston (CBS HOUSTON) – The Astros bullpen has been used and abused in the past month with the absence of strong starting pitching. The wear and tear seemingly caught up with them Friday night in the series opener against the New York Yankees. The Houston bullpen allowed ten runs, let two inherited runners score and lost by a final of 13-4.

“These guys are doing the best they can. They’ve all pitched a ton. Obviously I’m trying not to use the backend guys unless it’s their role, and that puts a lot of pressure on Feliz and Hoyt and Guduan… We’re trying our best to navigate the rest and take care of them while also competing,” Astros Manager A.J. Hinch said.

Starter Lance McCullers battled through some traffic on the bases early and often. He only faced the minimum in one inning, the fifth. It was in fact the only inning that Astros pitching would sit down the Yankees in order.

“They were able to put some good at-bats together throughout the game,” McCullers said.

The Astros were so desperate for pitching that outfielder Norichika Aoki made his first career pitching appearance in the ninth inning. A valiant effort that was not rewarded with outs, but instead three more runs for the Yankees. However, he was able to retire the impressive Aaron Judge via a high pop-up to centerfield.

“I had to with the way that our bullpen has been having to be used. I’m probably the one guy that didn’t get entertainment out of it. I think as a manager you hate putting those guys in those positions. I’m glad he did it, he’s very team oriented,” Hinch said.

Derek Fogel, reporter/host @FogelSaidWhat


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