It was a very up-and-down week for both the Houston Astros and myself as an Astros fan. I was worried about what was going to happen between the Astros and A’s this week, and the Astros were fast to disappoint. For those of you that didn’t follow closely, Yoni touched on it here, and I’ll talk about in this week’s “Reason For Sadness.” On to the results!
The Astros recorded their first winning week of the season, last week! Being a fan of the 2014 Astros is going to be about small victories, and this absolutely qualifies. Last week started with the Astros nearly sweeping the Mariners in a 3-game set, and finished with them splitting 4 games with the A’s
Monday: Astros 7 – Mariners 2: Dallas Keuchel and Felix Hernandez had a pitcher’s duel through 4, until Matt Dominguez hit a 2-run HR in the top of the 5th. The Mariners answered in the bottom with 2 runs off an Abraham Almonte double. We blew it open with 4 in the 6th, and the Mariners only managed 1 baserunner in 3 innings of bullpen work. Marc Krauss added an insurance run with a solo shot in the 8th. Josh Fields struck out the side in the 9th to get the save.
- Dallas Keuchel (W, 2-1): 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1BB, 8 SO
- Marc Krauss, 1B: 2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR(2)
- Alex Presley, LF: 3-4, 2 R, RBI, 3b
- Matt Dominguez, 3B: 2-3, 2B, R, 3 RBI, HR(3), BB
Tuesday: Astros 5 – Mariners 2: Houston put runs on the board early in support of Colin McHugh’s first ML start of the season. They dropped 2 in the first with a Dexter Fowler BB and a Jason Castro HR, and another in the second on a Chris Carter solo shot. That proved to be all the cushion McCugh would need as he went on to throw 6.2 scoreless innings, striking out 12, including the side in both the first and third innings. Matt Dominguez would go on to add a solo shot in the top of the 7th, Raul Valdes gave up a 2-run HR to Justin Smoke in bottom of the 7th, and Chris Carter singled in Jason Castro in the 8th. Fields was perfect in the 9th for his second save in as many games.
- Colin McHugh (W, 1-0): 6.2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 12 SO
- Jason Castro, C: 2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, HR(4)
- George Springer, RF: 0-3, BB, 3 SO
- Chris Carter, DH: 2-4, R, 2 RBI, HR(1)
- Matt Dominguez, 3B: 1-4, R, RBI, HR(4)
Wednesday: Astros 3 – Mariners 5: This one hurt. Jason Castro broke open this scoreless game in the second when he doubled in Matty D and Dexter Fowler. Chris Carter added to the lead with a solo HR in the top of the 7th. Jarred Cosart bounced back nicely in this game not allowing a run until the bottom of the 7th inning when Kyle Seager hit a 2-run HR off of him. Jarred Cosart remained in to retire Nick Franklin but was replaced by Raul Valdes to retire Dustin Ackley and finish off the inning. Cosart left the game with a 3-2 lead. Chad Qualls pitched a perfect 8th inning, and Bo Porter called on Josh Fields to finish off his 3rd game in a row. Fields gave up two quick singles, struck out Smoak, and then offered up a 3-run, walk off HR to Seager.
- Jarred Cosart: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO
- Dexter Fowler, CF: 1-3, 2BB, 1 SO
- Jason Castro, C: 1-5, 2 RBI, 2B, 1 SO
- Chris Carter, DH: 1-3, RBI, BB, 2 SO, HR
Thursday: Athletics 10 – Astros 1: Brett Oberholtzer, in his first poor outing of the season, gave up the house to the A’s. They put up 2 in the first, 1 in the second, and 3 in the 3rd. Paul Clemens replaced Obie with the bases loaded and 2 out in the fourth and got out of the inning. Clemens gave up 2 in the 5th, including one off of a Jed Lowrie double. In the top of the 7th Clemens got Coco Crisp to fly out, and then Lowrie comes to the plate. Lowrie doubled in a run off of Clemens two innings prior, and probably more importantly, tried to bunt in the first inning of a blowout last week. Clemens proceeded to hit Lowrie with a first-pitch fastball that was the fastest pitch he threw all night. Clemens was tossed from the game. Anthony Bass came in and immediately gave up a 2-run HR to Josh Donaldson. Jerome Williams threw the last two innings perfectly.
- Brett Oberholtzer (L, 0-4): 3.2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO (Even after that awful game, his ERA is only 4.61)
- Jose Altuve, 2B: 3-5, 2b
- Matt Dominguez, 3B: 2-4, SO
- Jonathan Villar, SS: 2-4, SO, 2b
Friday: Athletics 12 – Astros 5: Another blowout loss at the hands of the A’s, this one in Brad Peacock‘s first start of the season. He gave up 4 in the first, 1 off a Josh Reddick triple, 1 from a Jonathan Villar error, and 2 from a Jed Lowrie single. Jose Altuve was able to take the deficit to 3 when he doubled in Villar. Peacock would give up one in the top of the 4th, but in the bottom, Matt Dominguez singled in Alex Presley, Chris Carter and Dominguez scored on a Josh Donaldson error, and Jason Castro knotted the game by hitting in Altuve. Peacock pitched a clean 5th and was pulled with the game tied at 5. The scorecard then remained clean until the 9th when Josh Fields came in and quickly loaded the bases. The A’s would go on to score 7 runs in the 9th on a series of walks, singles, doubles, errors, a home run, and miraculously 2 Brandon Moss HBP (one by Fields, the other Anthony Bass).
- Brad Peacock: 5 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 6 BB, 3 SO
- Josh Fields (L, 0-2): 0.0 IP, 4 H, 5 ER
- Jose Altuve, 2B: 3-5, R, RBI
- Chris Carter, DH: 2-4, R, SO
Saturday: Athletics 6 – Astros 7: Dallas Keuchel had a tough first inning, allowing earned runs on a Jed Lowrie single and a Josh Donaldson GIDP. Houston answered with a run of their own off a Dexter Fowler solo shot. Houston took the lead in the second when Marc Krauss drew a lead-off walk and Chris Carter deposited an 0-1 pitch over the left field wall. Neither team was able to score until the 7th when Jerome Williams, having recently replaced Keuchel, gave up a sac-fly, scoring Craig Gentry. The run was charged to Keuchel. The game was tied at 3 going into the bottom of the 8th until Dexter Fowler singled in Marwin Gonzalez, Jason Castro singled in Altuve, and George Springer and Marc Krauss grounded out, scoring Fowler and Jason Castro, respectively. Bo Porter stuck with Jerome Williams in the 9th. Williams then gave up a 3-run shot to Brandon Moss and another quick single to Nick Punto, after which he was promptly pulled. Raul Valdes came in and struck out the final two batters for the Astros to hold on by 1.
- Dallas Keuchel: 6.1 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO
- Jerome Williams (BS, 1)(W, 1-1): 2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, BB, SO
- Dexter Fowler, CF: 2-4, 2 RBI, SO, HR(2)
- Chris Carter, DH: 1-3, 2 RBI, BB, 2 SO, HR(3)
Sunday: Athletics 1 – Astros 5: Colin McHugh was dominant in his second start of the season and the week. He gave up a 1-out single to Jed Lowrie then proceeded to no-hit the A’s for the next 8.1 innings. Dexter Fowler grounded out in the third, scoring Jonathan Villar, then in the 7th, still up 1-0, Villar hits a 2-out triple scoring Dominguez and Carlos Coporan, then Jose Altuve homers, scoring Villar. Porter let McHugh try and close out his 1-hit shutout in the 9th. McHugh was able to get Lowrie and Donaldson to fly out, but then with two outs he hung a curveball into Brandon Moss, who was set up right between the index and middle fingers of the catcher’s mitt. Porter Then turned to Raul Valdes to finish out the game.
- Colin McHugh (W, 2-0): 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 SO
- Jose Altuve, 2B: 2-4, R, 2 RBI, HR(1)
- Jonathan Villar, SS: 2-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2b, 3b
MVP of the Week
In by far the easiest decision of the season, offseason waiver claim, Colin McHugh is awarded this week’s MVP. McHugh, brought up to take Feldman’s spot in the rotation, has played his way on to the team long-term with two absolutely dominant starts. His line for the week is 15.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 19 SO. His WHIP this week was .529. None of these numbers are in line with McHugh’s career stats, but we need to enjoy the show he is putting on for us now because it is excited. Congrats on your first two starts as an Astro, I’m glad they were your best.
Reason for Excitement
No seriously, even if he doesn’t make another start, he is well worth the nothing we acquired him for this offseason. It adds another solid arm to a rotation that seems like it could have 4 solid arms and a Jarred Cosart, who could either be our best or worst pitcher any day of the week. Let’s hope Colin can keep it up.
Reason for Sadness
George Springer is 2 for his last 21 AB after starting the season with a hit in his first 5 games. The good news is that many of his rates, such as K% and BB%, are pretty similar to his minor league numbers. That means that his struggles are likely just adjusting to better pitchers. We need to be patient; he’ll start squaring up some balls soon.
30 – Place we rank on team BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play)
.086 – Points below the median team BABIP
.30 – Points below our team BABIP in 2013
7 – Place we ranked in team BABIP in 2013
Keep Your Eye On
What happens with the pitching situation. Will Peacock go back to the pen? Will Luhnow run with a 6-man rotation seeing as how young many of them are? My hopes are that Paul Clemens is DFA’d into the sun, but that is just me.
Hit me up on Twitter if you have any questions that you’d like answered in next week’s Weekly Recap. Happy Astrosing.