Lots of fizz, little pop: Astros fall 5-1 to Royals
Pop, pop, fizz, fizz, oh what relief it is… Except there was lots of fizz but little pop tonight — the tagline for the Astros’ quest to put an end to a three-game skid. This was the final game of a three-game set versus the Kansas City Royals.
Although they were unsuccessful, there were some fine moments that occurred that indicated that this team is headed in the right direction. A terrific Jonathan Villar-led 6-4-3 turn, a brow-raising George Springer outfield assist and diving catch. All are phrases we’ll be familiar with in a few years, just wait and see!
However, it’s extremely hard to overlook that the Astros conjured up only five hits tonight and were thankfully able to avert a shutout through nearly five innings. The Royals really aren’t that good of a team, ranking near the bottom half of the MLB in most statistics that count. It’s a shame they couldn’t convert.
It was all Royals early in and they got their engine started early with a Nori Aoki double off a fielding error by Springer — the first of his career — eventually leading to a score at the top of the first inning brought in by an Eric Hosmer groundout to first base. Score: Royals 1, Astros 0
After the Royals scored once again off a Mike Moustakas soft line drive to center in the second inning, they assembled an even greater lead with doubles in back-to-back innings — fourth and fifth — by Alcides Escobar and Salvador Perez bringing three of their guys home.
At the bottom of the fifth, in desperate need to get some sort of a offensive attack going against the Royals, Alex Presley cranked out a sac-fly to left off a James Shields cut-fastball bringing in Chris Carter. This would be the only run the Astros would get for the game although from the way things were evolving, it didn’t appear that way. All of what went into motion in the fifth led up to the score being 5-1 which would be the eventual final.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing more to report after that inning causing all of that fizz the Astros had to fall flat after they could not get anything going other than a Villar walk and Jason Castro single. All of that happened when the notion of attaining a mark in the win column seemed to be a pipe dream.
George Springer Watch: His finest moment was in the fifth where was able get his first major-league outfield assist in his career off Perez’s line drive to right deflected by Dexter Fowler.
His quick, innate thinking prevented what could’ve been a barrage of runs by the Royals by tossing it to Villar which, in turn, threw it home to Castro trouncing what could’ve been. He looked so natural doing it and that’s why he deserves a spot on this Astros’ roster. It’s these kind of heads-up plays that are needed to bolster the team’s defensive prowess.
He also had an awe-inspiring diving catch off a Moustakas sinking line drive shattered his hopes of recording his second hit of the game. Springer went 1-for-4 and struck out twice but if you’re a fan, you don’t care about that, you care that the Astros’ future is currently the anchor of right field. He’s not going anywhere and the Astros made the right call to pluck him from the farm now.
The Shields/Feldman Duel: Shields won this one as Scott Feldman could not replicate the success of his last few starts. It’s okay, I understand, pitchers can and will have bad games. This has been going since Adam, or in baseball terms, the days of knickerbockers. Feldman allowed nine hits, gave up four runs, fanned one and struck out two. Hardly numbers to scream about but his WHIP remains strong and steady at 0.77.
Shields dominated this game and lived up to his tabbed name of “Big Game Shields” tabbed by the Rays’ fan base, his former, loyal but small. Shields gave up four hits, one run, walked two and struck out 12 batters. At one point in the game, he had struck out 10 straight batters.
The men in orange will now head up to Oaktown for a three-game set against the Athletics — the game will be televised on CSN Houston and broadcast via the radio on SportsTalk 790 AM. First pitch is set for 9:05 p.m. CDT.