Rocky third, WP call shorten Paulino's debut

Rookie throws 45 pitches in inning that included controversial wild pitch

Rocky third, WP call shorten Paulino's debut

CLEVELAND -- Rookie right-hander David Paulino didn't give the Astros the pick-me-up they desperately needed for a starting pitcher, lasting just three innings in Thursday's 10-7 loss to the Indians at Progressive Field in his Major League debut.

Paulino, who threw 45 pitches in a lengthy third inning that included a controversial no-call of what should have been a foul ball off the bat of Lonnie Chisenhall, allowed four runs and four hits. That's the eighth consecutive game in which an Astros starting pitcher didn't pitch past the fifth inning. The starters have a 8.37 ERA in that span.

"I think [Paulino] warmed up OK," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "As the game got underway, I thought he started to loosen up a little bit. ... The velocity was an uptick in the second inning, his breaking ball got a little bit better.

"The third inning just took forever. He didn't end at-bats, and he couldn't get out of the inning without 40-plus pitches. It was a big ask for us to expect him to go pretty deep in the game. I thought as he started the game, it was pretty interesting the angle he has, the breaking ball he has, but the third inning took a long time, took a lot of pitches out of him and ended his day."

Must C: Questionable wild pitch

Paulino, who spent most of the season in Double-A, is 6-foot-7 and has impressive stuff. He was throwing his fastball in the lower 90s in the first inning, but was hitting closer to the mid-90s later in his outing. Early in the game, he couldn't get a grip on his curveball, but started throwing it better later.

"I felt really good, thank God," the Astros' No. 4 prospect said. "I didn't feel any pressure on myself before I went out there. I felt like it was just another day. I felt good out there."

Where the Astros go with Paulino remains to be seen. They're without starters Dallas Keuchel (shoulder) and Lance McCullers (elbow) and are in need of a starter for Tuesday's game against the Rangers. Brad Peacock, who made a spot start Tuesday, could be an option, along with Paulino.

The starters face a huge challenge this weekend against the Cubs, who will run out Jon Lester (15-4, 2.61 ERA), John Lackey (9-7, 3.36 ERA) and Jake Arrieta (16-6, 2.84 ERA) against Joe Musgrove (2-3, 5.06 ERA), Collin McHugh (9-10, 4.96 ERA) and Mike Fiers (10-6, 4.29 ERA).

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.