Bielak (3-3) allowed four runs on five hits (one home run) and a walk while striking out three across two innings Saturday as he took the loss against the Rangers. Bielak came out to start the fifth in place of Lance McCullers and got off to a nice start with a quick 1-2-3 inning. The right-hander returned for the sixth and allowed a couple of early base runners before Nick Solak was able to single home Willie Calhoun with two outs in the inning to give the Rangers their first lead. Bielak escaped with just the one run earned and came back out for the seventh. He allowed the first two batters to reach before Jeff Mathis took him deep to left to put the Rangers up 4-1. Bielak's night was done immediately afterward as he holds a 6.75 ERA and 26:17 K:BB heading into playoffs.
Bielak didn't factor into the decision in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader against the Angels, giving up four runs on seven hits over 3.2 innings in a 10-9 loss. He struck out five without walking a batter. He put his name in the history books by serving up Mike Trout's 300th career homer, but it was an otherwise forgettable effort from Bielak, who needed 77 pitches (52 strikes) to record 11 outs. He'll likely move into long relief from here on out, and the rookie's 6.00 ERA and 1.59 WHIP make him an unappealing fantasy option in a low-leverage role.
Manager Dusty Baker said Thursday that he expects Bielak and Jose Urquidy (undisclosed) to make starts in Saturday's doubleheader against the Angels in some order, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports. Baker suggested Wednesday that Cy Sneed and Luis Garcia were candidates to make starts in the twin bill, but Urquidy apparently impressed in his throwing session Thursday, leaving Houston optimistic he'll be ready to make his season debut this weekend. Meanwhile, Bielak will be given another chance to redeem himself after two rough outings in a row, during which he recorded only six outs while giving up 11 runs (10 earned) on eight hits and four walks. Assuming Urquidy feels fine coming out of his start, he should permanently take over as the fifth member of Houston's rotation, likely bumping Bielak to the bullpen next week as a result. If Bielak shows improved form in Saturday's outing, he would at least cement himself as the next man up to start if a rotation spot should reopen at some point.
Bielak (3-2) did not make it out of the first inning and took the loss in the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Angels. He allowed four runs (three earned) on three hits and three walks in two-thirds of an inning in the 12-5 loss. Bielak made the start on short rest, so the outcome isn't completely surprising. The rookie hurler managed to sidestep trouble earlier this season, when he walked 11 over the first 21.1 innings, but major-league hitters have caught up to him. Bielak's allowed 11 runs on eight hits (four home runs) and three walks over the last two innings. With off days coming up on the schedule, the Astros can avoid using Bielak until Sept. 5.
Bielak will start Game 2 of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Angels, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports. He will be making the start on two days of rest, but only logged 1.1 innings in his Aug. 22 start against the Padres, so he is more rested than a typical starter on short rest. This would have been his day to toss a side session, so he will essentially get that work in during a game that counts in what should amount to a bullpen game for the Astros. Houston won't need a fifth starter again until a doubleheader against the Angels on Sept. 5, so we could see Bielak briefly transition to the bullpen or the alternate training site following Tuesday's start.