Coming off a sterling 2015 when he held a 1.99 ERA and 10.3 K/9, Tony Sipp struggled by comparison in 2016. His ERA bloated to 4.95, in large part due to a 2.5 HR/9, the second highest in the league among pitchers with at least 40 innings. A left-hander with a good slider and a good changeup, Sipp has pitched even left/right splits over his career, making him more than just a LOOGY. While 2015 was a career year, 2016 seems like somewhat of an outlier on the other end of the spectrum, with his true talent lying somewhere in between. Sipp has two years and $12 million left on his contract, so he will definitely be given relief opportunities for the Astros in 2017. But with Ken Giles and Luke Gregerson set to anchor a crowded bullpen that could become even more crowded with free-agent acquisitions, the 33-year-old Sipp is unlikely to see many high-leverage situations in 2017.
Sipp is scheduled to pitch Monday after missing his last two starts with back stiffness, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports. The injury was never thought to be anything serious, but Sipp is the only southpaw in the Astros' bullpen to start the season, so the team obviously handled him with extra precaution. He'll look to get things on track before the season opens up in a week, as the 33-year-old has struggled to a 5.40 ERA and 2.60 WHIP in five innings this spring.
Sipp (back) was feeling better Sunday and could pitch in Monday's game against the Cardinals, Brian McTaggart of the Astros' official site reports. The left-handed reliever was scratched from a scheduled appearance Saturday. Sipp's condition was described as nothing more than "standard, end-of-cap back stiffness," per manager A.J. Hinch. Sipp, in the second year of a three-year, $18 mllion contract, is the only lefty in the pen to start the season, so he's a valuable piece.
Sipp didn't pitch Saturday because of back stiffness, Brian McTaggart of the Astros' official site reports. Manager A.J. Hinch said the stiffness developed Friday. The left-handed Sipp's been roughed up this spring, giving up eight hits and five walks in five innings.
Sipp allowed a hit and two walks in two-thirds of an inning in Thursday's game against Washington. The left-handed Sipp is coming off an atrocious season, one in which his HR rate spiked and same-sided hitter had an .894 OPS off him. It's important that Sipp becomes an effective reliever because he's the lone projected southpaw in the Houston pen. He told Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle that he believes his four-seam fastball doesn't move as much it used to when he was younger, so he's mixing in a two-seamer.
Sipp is the lone MLB-proven left-hander in the Astros bullpen as the team enters spring training, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports. It was widely thought that Houston would acquire a left-handed reliever, either via free agency or a trade, but general manager Jeff Luhnow was never able to swing a deal. Less than two weeks until pitchers and catchers report, the other three lefties on the 40-man roster lack a track record in the major leagues. This might come back to hurt Houston. Sipp, an eight-year veteran entering his age-33 season, is coming off a career-worst season (4.95 ERA, 43.2 innings, 12 HR), so look for Houston to continue during the spring southpaw hunting season.