Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle released the Astros spring rotation for the first six games, and it looks like this:
- Thursday at Phillies - Doug Fister
- Friday vs. Cardinals - Wandy Rodriguez
- Saturday vs. Mets - Collin McHugh
- Sunday (split-squad) vs. Blue Jays - Scott Feldman
- Sunday (split-squad) at Pirates - Brad Peacock
- Monday at Yankees - Mike Fiers
Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers are notably absent from this list, and according to Ortiz, will throw bullpen sessions on Monday with the plan to join the rotation during the second week of games. This seems to show that the Astros will be relying more heavily upon Keuchel and McCullers, and with Keuchel's career-high workload last season and McCullers likely on an innings limit due to his prior workloads, the team wants to keep these two as fresh as possible.
Without these two in the rotation for the first week of spring, Sunday will be a very interesting day. Feldman, who was slowed by injuries in 2015, totaling just 108.1 innings, and Peacock, who has had injuries of his own, will get a chance to show what they can do. As the team currently stands, Feldman is the most likely candidate to be the team's long relief option, at least to begin the season, while Peacock is likely slated for a stint in Fresno. Both will be considered viable fill-in options in the rotation if the injury bug strikes, so good performances this spring could help put the fan base at ease.
For the Win! posted this excellent piece about the Astros and their use of technology, especially when it comes to their starting pitchers. It's certainly worth a look!