Heading into the 2015 season, Collin McHugh was viewed as one of the strengths of the Astros rotation.
However, after getting off to a strong start in April, McHugh has hit a rough patch. Over his past seven starts, the righthander has a 2-3 record with a 6.86 ERA. Overall, McHugh's record is still 6-3, but his ERA has now risen to 5.08, a number far removed from his 2.73 ERA in 25 starts in 2014.
On Saturday, McHugh gave up five runs in the first and eight runs on nine hits in his three innings of work.
"(It was) just a difficult day for him," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I think, mechanically, we've got some things to work on with him. They made every pitch... that was hard contact that they put in play, did some damage."
Hinch was asked later on to elaborate on the possible mechanical issues.
"We're going to try to look at a few things, posture-wise, and see how he is in the wind-up versus how he is in the stretch," Hinch said. "It's just initially what (Astros pitching coach Brent Strom) and I were talking about in the dugout, but I want to get a further look at him. He was leaving some pitches up. I think his arm was dragging a little bit, so we've got to find a correction for him to get a little bit more aggressive, a little bit more towards the hitter."
McHugh didn't disagree with any assessment that could fix his current struggles.
"You've got to kind of go back to the drawing board," McHugh said. "We've got to fix something out. It's frustrating because my stuff's not very sharp right now, but my body feels good, my arm feels good, I feel good in between starts, it's just a matter of getting over the hump, getting back to where we need to go. I think I'm close, but today's one of those days. It gets away from you real fast.
"There's plenty of things to work on, obviously, at this point," McHugh added. "Just staying on top of the ball, really being able to kind of dominate the top half of the ball. Me and Strommy have worked on it the last couple of weeks and it's just getting there, it's just a matter of feel, really, at this point and it didn't feel very good today."