Thoughts and prayers to everyone who has been devastated by Harvey and the flooding. The amazing display by first responders and neighbors helping each other has shown that weather may ruin property, but this city won’t be broken.
Last Week’s Scoreboard:
|TUE August 22nd||WAS 4||HOU 3||Roark v. Morton|
|WED August 23rd||WAS 1||HOU 6||Jackson v. Fiers|
|THU August 24th||WAS 5||HOU 4||Strasburg v. Keuchel|
|FRI August 25th||HOU 2||LAA 1||McHugh v. Bridwell|
|SAT August 26th||HOU 6||LAA 7||Peacock v. Skaggs|
|SUN August 27th||HOU 7||LAA 5||Morton v. Nolasco|
The Astros kicked off the series against the Nationals with a 4-3 loss on Tuesday. The scoring in the game all came in a back and forth battle in the first four innings, with the Astros taking an early lead with a RBI single by Reddick to make it 1-0 in the bottom of the first, then extended that to 2-0 in the second with a RBI single by Fisher. The Nationals answered back with a two-RBI triple by Kendrick in the third, tying the game 2-2, before the Astros regained the lead in the bottom of the inning on a RBI infield single by Reddick. The deciding blow came in the top of the fourth when Wieters launched a two-run blast to center, giving the Nationals the 4-3 lead which held up through the end of the game. Morton didn’t have a horrible start, he actually struck out six batters and went six innings, but the two big hits he gave up scored the four runs which the Astros’ offense couldn’t overcome. Devenski and Gregerson combined for three shutout innings to keep the game within reach.
The Astros got a good start from Fiers on Wednesday paired with some power hitting to get the 6-1 win to even the series. Fiers looked a lot better than his recent starts, going seven strong innings during which he gave up just one run on four hits and struck out six. The one run was a sac fly by Difo in the third which at the time gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead, but that lead would not hold up for long. The Astros put up a run on a sac fly from Reddick in the fourth to tie the game, then went ahead on a homer by Marisnick in the fifth before adding four insurance runs in the eighth on a solo home run from Stassi and a three-run bomb by Bregman. Musgrove and Liriano pitched the final two innings with both giving up a hit but no runs.
The series finale with the Nationals was about as close to a playoff preview as you can get, with the Astros ultimately losing 5-4 in extra innings. Strasburg outdueled Keuchel in the starting pitcher’s battle, going six innings while giving up just three hits, no runs and striking out seven. Keuchel went seven innings, but the Nationals were able to put up three runs while he was on the mound, two of which came on infield hits in the fifth, one of them being unearned after a runner advanced on a Gurriel error. The Astros’ offense rallied late, getting a run in the eighth on a McCann RBI single, then tied the game in the bottom of the ninth on RBIs from Reddick and Gurriel, sending the game to extra innings. Giles pitched a phenomenal top of the tenth, striking out all three batters. Unfortunately, Clippard fell apart in the top of the eleventh, allowing the Nationals to score two runs. Davis tried to get another rally going for the Astros with a solo home run in the bottom of the inning, but they were unable to mount any more offense, dropping the game 5-4 in the eleventh.
The Astros edged out a 2-1 win in Friday’s series opener in Los Angeles on a strong start from McHugh. Mchugh went six innings, giving up just one run which came in the bottom of the first on a RBI double from Calhoun which gave the Angels a 1-0 lead at the time. McHugh bounced back from that, though, and finished his six innings with just three hits and eight strikeouts. The Astros got their two runs on a solo home run from Davis and Springer coming across on a wild pitch in the top of the sixth. Devenski, Musgrove, and Giles each pitched a scoreless inning to finish out the win.
The Astros looked dominant early in Saturday’s game against the Angels, putting up four quick runs in the first two innings on a two-RBI single by Reddick, a balk, and an error on an infield hit. Calhoun answered back with a solo home run in the bottom of the second, but the Astros would eventually extend their lead to 6-1 on solo home runs by Marisnick in the fourth and Springer in the seventh. Peacock had another great start, going six strong innings giving up just that one run while striking out eight. I turned off the game with the Astros leading 6-1 to watch the fight Saturday night, assuming the game was well in hand with the bullpen doing relatively well recently. I was absolutely stunned when I stumbled upon the score later that night to see that the Astros bullpen totally fell apart and blew the five run lead. Ultimately it was the two new relievers, Liriano and Clippard, along with Martes who came up short, allowing the Angels to put up six runs across the seventh and eighth innings to take the 7-6 lead which they held on to for the win.
With the city of Houston heavy on their hearts, the Astros battled adversity of their own during Sunday’s game but ultimately came out on top. Altuve set the tone early with a two-run home run in the top of the first to put the Astros out to an early lead. They extended the lead to 4-0 with RBI singles from McCann and Gonzalez in the fourth. Morton had a relatively good start but struggled in the fifth when he gave up a bases-clearing double to Revere which trimmed the lead to 4-3. Musgrove followed and gave up two runs of his own in the sixth to give the Angels their first lead of the day, 5-4. The Astros would rally back, loading the bases in the eighth to set up a bases-clearing triple by McCann to give the Astros the lead back at 7-5. Devenski and Giles came through in the eighth and ninth innings to hold on to the lead and gave the Astros and Houston the much-needed win.
The Astros went 3-3 on the week, losing the series against the tough Nationals and winning the series against the AL West rival Angels. It easily could’ve been a much better 4-2 week if not for the implosion by the bullpen on Saturday night. Overall, the team continues to get healthier, they have Correa and McCullers making rehab starts and Harris has rejoined the team as of this weekend. There are a lot of favorable matchups down the stretch, including multiple series against the AL West, which could help the team build momentum as they get their key guys back in a normal rotation and their normal positions. Hopefully, the team rallies around the hurting city of Houston and can deliver some good performances that the city can be proud of.
MVP of the Week – Josh Reddick: Reddick got my attention this week and rightly so; he hit .522 this week by going 12 for 23 and racking up 6 RBIs. He’s increased his season average up to .306 and has been on an absolute tear recently and has six multi-hit games out of his last ten. He’s the kind of guy the team will be glad to have in the playoffs.
This Week’s Schedule
- TUE-THU: Rangers (64-66) @ Astros (79-51)
- DAY-DAY: Mets (57-73) @ Astros (79-51)
It’s still not completely certain how this weeks’ games will pan out considering that most of Houston is underwater. The Astros could potentially swap series with the Rangers meaning they’d play in Arlington this week and then the Rangers would come here for the series in September. That’s just rumor though, no official reports have come out as of this writing to indicate any plans just yet. Regardless, the main focus will be getting the city of Houston back together, sports are secondary matters at this point. That being said, once these games are played, the Astros need to put together some winning streaks to boost morale during this tough time and also in the midst of the playoff push.