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Bullpen struggles may lead to change

Bullpen struggles may lead to change

Bullpen struggles may lead to change play video for Bullpen struggles may lead to change

HOUSTON -- A few weeks after saying Josh Fields and Chia-Jen Lo would share the closing duties, manager Bo Porter suggested on Tuesday he was again going with a closer-by-committee formation. Lo blew a save in the ninth inning of Monday's 10-6 loss to the Twins.

The Astros have struggled to close games since trading closer Jose Veras to the Tigers at the end of July. Houston has 26 blown saves this season, including 11 in 17 opportunities since Veras was traded, and features a bullpen dominated by rookies.

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"We've given all those guys a chance," Porter said. "It will come down to who's available. Fields is not available [on Tuesday]. When we get there, we'll see where we're at and make a decision at that point. It's not a decision I could sit there and say each and every time the situation arises that we have a guy that's going to close. We're just not fortunate to be in that situation right now."

Porter could even use one of his starting pitchers to close like he did last week when Jordan Lyles finished off a win over the White Sox. The Astros have a six-man starting rotation, and pitchers who are scheduled to throw in the bullpen between starts could instead pitch in a game.

Porter said that wouldn't apply to rookie Jarred Cosart, who started on Tuesday and surpassed a career high in innings pitched.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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