Astros closer Roberto Osuna appears destined for Tommy John Surgery

Roberto Osuna might need Tommy John surgery.

The Houston Astros know that shortening the game on the strength of a fantastic bullpen is the only way they will get back to the World Series. That plan has fallen at the first hurdle after closer Roberto Osuna sustained a serious arm injury.

Per Mark Berman, the initial diagnosis of Osuna’s arm injury recommended that the 25-year-old reliever undergo Tommy John Surgery. While Osuna will get a second opinion, this could be a crippling blow to Houston’s morale. Osuna had allowed just one run in 4.1 innings in 2020.

Roberto Osuna has become one of the best closers in baseball.

Osuna broke into the MLB with the Toronto Blue Jays at the age of 20. While his blistering heater and looping slurve made him one of the best relievers in the game, he was traded from Toronto to Houston following a suspension brought on by a domestic violence incident. The Astros, apparently willing to absorb the PR blowback that comes with adding a player with as many red flags as Osuna, instantly made him their closer after getting rid of Ken Giles.

While that event sullied his reputation, it did little to change the fact that Osuna is as unhittable as they come. Osuna pitched to a 2.63 ERA in 2019 while leading the American League in saves. After free agency took a toll on Houston’s bullpen, losing Osuna might be a death knell for Dusty Baker.

The Astros’ bread is buttered by their incredibly deep lineup, but Osuna closing out games was a huge reason they were able to take home their second pennant in three seasons in 2019. Without him to lock down games in the ninth inning, Houston’s championship hopes have been muddied due to an already subpar bullpen.